Thursday, 2 October 2014

Apostle of Solitude - Of Woe & Wounds (Album Review)

Album Type: Full-Length
Release Date: 15/11/2014
Label: Cruz Del Sur Music

Of Woe and Wounds” CD/DD/LP track list:

1). Distance and the Cold Heart
2). Blackest Of Times
3). Whore's Wings
4). Lamentations of a Broken Man
5). Die Vicar Die
6). Push Mortal Coil
7). This Mania
8). Siren
9). Luna
10). Distance And The Cold Heart (Reprise)


In life there is death. In happiness, in hope, and in love there is also tragedy. There is hopelessness, despair, and grief. There is Apostle of Solitude. True American Doom Metal in its most raw, unfiltered, sincere form. Apostle of Solitude rose from the ashes of The Keep in the autumn of 2004, releasing the self-titled demo in autumn of 2005 and the “Embraced by the Black” demo in early 2007, before releasing the massive Sincerest Misery full length debut on Eyes like Snow Records in October 2008. While Sincerest Misery took the international metal community by storm and quickly catapulted the band to the forefront of “required listening” bands in Doom, the band’s sophomore follow-up, Last Sunrise, is set to go even further down the path that Sincerest Misery began, taking the listener even deeper into these beautiful cold depths of sorrow and ruin.

For every new dawn there is also a Last Sunrise. That cold day of reckoning when it becomes all too clear that tomorrow may never come. There is a certain clarity in this realization that makes today that much more critical in one’s quest for knowledge and truth.

As evidenced by the band’s live performances, notably at the Born Too Late fest in Baltimore, MD and the Templars of Doom (third crusade) fest in Indianapolis, IN, the live arena is one in which the band thrives, and where the primal intensity and raw emotion of Apostle of Solitude can be witnessed firsthand.

The Band:

Corey Webb | drums
Dan Davidson | bass
Chuck Brown | guitar/vox
Steve Janiak | guitar


Our American answer to the current British and Scandinavian invasion of doom, Apostle of Solitude's newest puts everyone on notice just how good they are going to need to be after hearing this one. Beginning with a NOLA-esque southern fried interlude Apostle of Solitude's newest “Of Woe and Wounds” sets the tone right off the bat seamlessly transitioning into the second track's awesome doom opening riff. This is the kind of riff that crowds can’t help but infectiously headbang in unison, pure unadulterated doom majesty. I also feel it worth mentioning just how fantastic the vocals are, it's so nice to hear decent singing and this guy has a really unique and interesting style.

After hearing “Die Vicar Die” you too will want him to die. A riveting and epic track with a stirring bridge and fantastic intro, topping it off with some delicious ecstasy inducing wah solo. Can't help but wish Apostle of Solitude would have let rip with a longer solo here, however this is one of my few complaints with the album. Indeed you better have a fire extinguisher handy because this dude rips on guitar when he does short leads throughout the album. The sixth track “Push Mortal Coil” pushes the rhythm guitar into chugging riff mode, reminiscent of Mercyful Fate's first track on their classic “Don't Break The Oath.” The bridge on “Push Mortal Coil” is pretty damn badass with some unusual open sounding hanging riffs. This is the most artistically pleasing track on the album for those of us who like our music snobby (like me).

“This Mania” might be the most intense track on the album with some furious stomping riffs over the first two minutes, making you wish you were in a crowd jumping around. There's just something about chugging triplets that's just damn fun to listen to. On the 3rd to last track “Siren” once the verse kicks in, it has a very unusual guitar riff that I can only describe as being Medieval-inspired or possibly Celtic in origin. Its syncopation reminds me of some bagpipe tunes, my cousins used to play when they got drunk at weddings. Tantalizing us with another short but awesome solo near the end, I repeat ‘tear down this wall Mr. Gorbachev and let this man shred’.

The answer to the question, why do songs about chicks always end up being the longest tracks on every album has never been answered. That being said the second to last track “Luna” is in fact epic and awesome with a slew of funeral dirge guitars and mournful vocals. Keeping the tempo low and slow this is perhaps the doomiest track on the record and Apostle of Solitude fully commits to the riff on this one.

The overall mix is fantastic, drums are nice and clear across the spectrum and have a nice loose John Bonham sound. The guitars are clear and huge and the bass is fuzzy and warm. This is one of the best albums I've been sent to review so far and should be in many top 10 Year end lists.  For fans of Sabbath inspired early 80s underground metal, they strike me as the kind of band that draws half hipsters and half motorcycle gangs. Finally, I bet they rule live.  The vinyl edition will also have two bonus tracks.

Words by: Chris Tedor

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