Saturday, August 1, 2015

Apostle of Solitude - Of Woe and Wounds

Damn it.

I have no excuse.  None at all.

No excuse for not knowing more about these masters of trad doom metal, and no excuse for taking so long to get off my ever-growing-fatter ass and writing a review.

I mean, Steve Janiak, guitarist/vocalist for AOS, is afterall the main man behind riffmongers, Devil to Pay, who for chrissakes, are signed to my own label.  I love Devil to Pay, and love Fate is Your Muse, the album the talented quartet released with Ripple Music.  So why didn't I clue in earlier to Steve's other band, Apostle of Solitude.  Who knows.  I simply have no excuse.

But my oversight is being corrected right now, because AOS have released one of the more stunning doom metal albums I've heard all year.  Now, terms get confusing.  Doom, Doom/sludge, stonerdoom.  They all have different connotations.  With AOS I like to put the emphasis on the metal, because this is a classic post-NWOBHM, riff mad metal album, downtuned and depressed and simply sinking in a hell of doom.  In all the best ways.

The entire band is tight as fuck, but special mention has to go to Chuck Brown, who I believe is the main force behind AOS.  It's not clear to me who writes the songs, maybe a group effort, maybe a Chuck Brown led machine, but I do know that his vocals add that extra special touch to this album to really pump it over the top.  Not high and whiny like epic metal, or growled and vomited like death Black metal, Brown has a perfectly clean tone that rings beautiful enough to carry the melodies, yet buries within it a malevolent edge.  A hint of violence.  A tone of misery.

All of this comes to a front on "Whore's Wings" probably one of my favorite cuts I've heard all year in any heavy genre.  Mad riffing propels the song in a darkened post-NWOBHM familiarity while Brown's vocals dig deep into the torment in his soul to unleash lyrics like "Poison the well from which your love has sprung/come lies so easily from silver tongue/spread wide those whore's wings you wear so well."  And when the chorus comes in, with my man, Janiak adding backing vocals the song simply soars in it's despondency.  Special mention has to go to Dan Davidson who somehow managed to tap into the molten core of the earth to find his bass tone, and Corey Webb for battering the whole thing into painful submission.  Simply amazing stuff.

"Lamentations of a Broken Man," slows things down to reveal the more trudging doom bloodline of the band, crawling along in a post-Sabbath mode of woe and regret.  While "Die Vicar Die" erupts back into an inferno of hell-spawn metallic riffing.

Listen, the best way I can sum this up is to say that I was sent the promo for free by the label.  So I already have the album.  That didn't stop me from going right back to the band's site to buy the vinyl.  It's that good.

Now you have no excuse.


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