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Aphotic : Stillness Grows

It does make you wonder sometimes. How often have you seen bands that make music according to cheap, mass-production recipes, getting over-hyped just because they fit in a certain scene? How many bands sign a deal having hardly made a serious demo, because they feature ex-members of that famous band, or even because they happen to come from a particular geographical background which is renowned for the scene to which they so desperately try to belong? Yet a quality band like Aphotic has to wait more than four years to see their material being released by a label, let alone to gain some recognition for it.

Flood The Earth records fortunately saw that gap in the market, releasing all previously unreleased material of this extraordinary band at once. The compilation has been called 'Stillness grows' and should be listened to as one single whole, despite the fact that it is comprised of three different demos. This because both the production and the mood of the songs, have a similar vibe.

It is not easy to characterize the sound of this band despite its relative accessibility and vague similarities to other dark metal entities. Some might recognize a Katatoniaesque guitar sound, some others might hear the legacy of the band in which some Aphotic members were involved, namely the legendary Dusk. In both cases, those listeners would probably be right, but referring to these bands solely is by no means enough to give an idea of what Aphotic sound like.

The sound of this band is truly a paradox; they make use of conventional 'extreme' metal elements like brutal vocals, distorted guitars and - at moments - quite intense riffing, only to create music, which is laid back, tranquil and almost ambient. Despite their relatively slow, hypnotic guitar sound and quite deep grunts, words like 'crushing', 'depressing' and 'monolithic' can not be applied here. Aphotic's sound is contemplative, very atmospheric and easy on the ear of the trained listener. The tempo between and within the tracks rarely varies, creating a constant mood of tranquility and - dare I say? - stillness.

Surely, there are minor exceptions like the brutal 'Benumb', the slowest and heaviest track on this album and probably the only one that fully qualifies for the title 'doom metal' or the emotionally charged ambient instrumental 'A Chance to Live'. There is also the beautiful 'Under Veil of the Endless Grey Sky', with its subtle atmospheric keyboard lines reminding of 'Crockett's Theme' (ouch), which has been my favourite since I first heard it on mp3.com some years ago. But chances are that if you like one track of this band, you will probably like them all as they all have a similar unpretentious, uncomplicated vibe.

I cannot stress enough how much I would recommend this special entity, as 'Stillness Grows' is one of my favourite releases this year. Should you want to find out more about this band, check out their website at www.aphoticdeath.com

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
Stillness Grows:
1. Vulnerable
2. Benumb
3. Spores
4. Loathe
5. Lunar Ride

Under Veil of Dark:
6. Precipice
7. Under Veil of the Endless Grey Sky
8. Atmosphere
9. Free me

10. Livid Dread
11. Slide
12. Psychoma
13. A Chance to Live
14. Panoramic

Duration : Approx. 49 minutes

Visit the Aphotic bandpage.

Reviewed on ??-??-???? by Kostas Panagiotou
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