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Apathy : Beneath the Ashen Sky

Apathy executes well while sticking to a familiar game plan...

I looked at the band name, album title, and cover art for this Swedish duo’s latest album and couldn’t help thinking the whole presentation was fair-to- middling at best. But first impressions were misleading. 'Beneath the Ashen Sky', Apathy’s fourth release, bears some serious emotional potency. This album is a broiling cauldron of continuously angry, wretched, crawling-on- the-basement-floor dark Metal.

Anger seems to be the key driver. Some bands wallow in melancholy, despair, or detachment. Apathy’s current vocalist Philip Gruning rails and rages through the album’s eight full songs (there’s also a brief interlude track). His words are almost entirely unintelligible, but the feeling is more than clear. His voice carries a predatory, almost animalistic tone. This is a good album to listen to when you’re in the grip of a rotten mood but before resignation, still having energy and drive to fight what’s against you.

Beneath’s first three tracks are rather unmemorable, one-dimensional songs built of boxy low-string riffs, floating guitar leads, and unrelenting growled vocals. Starting with Fear Me, the songwriting takes a noticeable step up, introducing more intricacy and more memorable guitar statements. While the fundamental musical style and display of emotion never vary, the increased attention to detail and overall songwriting quality of the album’s entire second half made me sit up and take notice.

Tempos might be too speedy to satisfy an appetite for absolute Doom. The production is also curiously midrange-emphatic, causing the music to seem less heavy than it actually is. And its degree of listener-friendliness might be too much for some; despite the sheer anger in the vocals, this is instantly accessible, “easy” dark Metal. Someone hoping for a challenging album will likely be left wishing for more depth or for more creative risk-taking.

Apathy executes well while sticking to a familiar game plan. The outright Doomiest point comes with the closing 'Endgame', a slow stomping track with a steady beat that wraps the album up on a very good note. 'Beneath the Ashen Sky' is a generic, if well done, album. For those who like it loud, angry, and nothing else, it satisfies.

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Reviewer's rating: 6/10


Tracklist :
1. Leper Tides
2. The Burial Ground
3. Typhoon
4. Fear Me
5. Murder Sun
6. Amongst the Dead
7. Consumed
8. Luna
9. Endgame

Duration : Approx. 60 minutes

Visit the Apathy bandpage.

Reviewed on 2013-11-13 by Mark Rzeszutek
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