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Apostate : Time Of Terror

Apostate's latest album is a solid and effective, if not particularly surprising, head-banger.

Apostate's 'Time Of Terror' has a pretty helpful album cover: look at the collection of skulls bursting open and you'll be primed for an album of one-dimensional (but not unpleasantly so) and brutal Death metal. And that is indeed the bedrock of this long-running Ukrainian band's new full length, each track of which stretches up to, or past, ten minutes. Apostate are an equal-parts Doom and Death metal band who keep things expectedly low and slow but manage to mix in a good amount of guitar harmony and melody amidst the often aggressively simple riffs and double-kick quakes.

Grounding in the early 90s is clear and present, but so is a willingness to utilize the rhythm guitar style of 80s Epic Doom, which gives 'Time Of Terror' a sense of individuality that actually comes from fairly ordinary building blocks combined more completely than usual. Sometimes it sounds like a slow Death metal album, other times like a Solitude Aeturnus alternative that happens to have growling vocals. A song like the ten minute 'Solar Misconception' gradually morphs from an early foundation, based on the latter sound, into a pummelling take on My Dying Bride's 'Songs of Darkness Words of Light', minus the Gothic overtones. This characteristic - distinctive, if not vanishingly rare - may make Apostate a good try for fans of old school Doom who are looking to test the Extreme Doom waters.

Production is absolutely, abrasively bone-dry, every instrument up front in the mix, trading depth of soundstage for a harsh, almost brutal immediacy and impact. 'Time Of Terror' isn't an album for contemplative listening - it's an album to play loud and bang your head to. Guitars and cymbals don't so much sound out their notes as scrape them as if from a solid cement surface. Vocals accordingly show a feral-animal quality, giving the music a feel of both hunting and primal anguish that alternates prominence with a slight cosmic atmosphere. This latter aspect is bolstered by the movie samples, from 'Beneath the Planet of the Apes', sprinkled across the whole album. A slightly wider range of vocal colour might help lift the album up a notch, preventing a few monotonous, flat stretches (early in the otherwise-good 'World Undying', for example).

There's no glaring drawback to 'Time Of Terror': it lacks truly attention-grabbing riffs, but the material is otherwise solid, albeit rather samey throughout. It has undeniable Doom appeal - especially on the last track, 'World Undying'; it sounds good enough (possibly a well-mastered demo) and is skilfully performed. The probable reason not to enjoy the album is listener taste: if you don't like Doom/Death, or if you need Gothic ornamentation to accompany it, you won't be satisfied here. Anyone who's a fan of both Incantation and Candlemass should at least give it a spin.

All in all, 'Time Of Terror' feels like an ominous crawl through a thorn-layered garden of serpents - one beneath the alien skies of another world than the one we normally inhabit. If that sounds like your thing, you'll find plenty to like from Apostate. 'Time Of Terror' is an unsurprising - but far from ineffective - listen for anyone with a good appetite for crunchy Doom/Death.

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Reviewer's rating: 6/10


Tracklist :
1. Solar Misconception
2. Pale Reflection
3. Pain Served Slow
4. Memory Eclipse
5. World Undying

Duration : Approx. 53 minutes

Visit the Apostate bandpage.

Reviewed on 2015-04-19 by Mark Rzeszutek
A Dream Of Poe - The Wraith Uncrowned
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