Apollyon come our way from Kelowna, British Columbia. Following last year’s release of their debut EP, Immolation, the band are now on the brink of releasing a very impressive debut album named False Light. The official release date is tomorrow, but we’re very happy to bring you a full stream of it today.
The album is an ambitious undertaking, one in which elements of death metal and black metal play dominant roles but don’t exhaust the musical ingredients that Apollyon have woven into a richly textured musical tapestry. Dynamic change is a hallmark of the record, with carefully crafted variations in tempo, style, and mood a significant source of the album’s considerable appeal. And the emotional power of the melodies is as much a strength as the bruising physicality of these tracks and the instrumental prowess demonstrated in their execution.
You’ll get a good sense of Apollyon’s strategies and skills from the opening track, “Deliverance” — though it’s not a complete forecast of what comes later. With booming grooves and grim, buzzing riffs, it establishes a mood that’s brooding and bleak, made even more harrowing by the vocal tandem of guttural roars and acidic shrieks and by threads of sorrowing melody. But an interlude of craggy bass notes and bright rippling and darting guitar notes shifts the mood, only to have the band change it again through a feverish display of despair and ringing manifestations of regret, capped by a wailing, grief-stricken solo.
It’s a dark and electric way to begin the album. But while a changing array of dark sensations cloaks the record as a whole, other emotions come through as well. The very next song, “Past the Reaches of the Sun”, which begins in a gallop, seems vibrant and unyielding, thanks in part to a fiery, anthemic solo and swirling, soaring tremolo chords. As the other tracks unfold, the band create sounds that are ominous, vicious, melancholy, and glorious. There’s gloom and desolation in these tracks, anguish and isolation, as well as stirring fanfares, hard-charging, highly headbang-able grooves, and onslaughts of pure savagery.
Through all these alluring permutations (which include further contrasting interludes of the kind revealed in the opening track), the band perform with impressive instrumental skill, including expertly adaptive drumwork and deft bass performances that are often given the spotlight in the mix, as well as riffs that rip, ring, and rush like a freight train, all pistons hammering.
There are also abundant guitar solos scattered across the album, and they’re worth special mention. They’re often the key driving force in the mood changes described above, ranging from soulful to scintillating, from fret-melting to sublimely fluid and flowing. They often seem more like the kind of thing you’d find in progressive rock than blackened death metal, and the further dimension they add to the music, together with how beautifully executed they are, makes them a true highlight of the album.
The Apollyon quintet are damned good on their own, but they enlisted guest vocals on “Past the Reaches of the Sun” by Mike Greenwood and Casey Tyson-Pearce of Angelmaker, and a guest solo in “Withering” by Angelmaker’s Matt Perrin.
False Light was produced, engineered, and mixed by Matt Roach at Rain City Recorders in Vancouver, BC, and it was mastered by Brad Boatright at Audiosiege. The cover art was created by Braden Farr.