Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Apothecary - 'Drifting Towards the Ancients' (Album Review)

Album Type: Full-Length
Release Date: 25/4/2015
Label: Self-Release

'Drifting Towards the Ancients' CD/LP/DD tracklist:

1). Fortune Doesn't Smile on the Damned
2). Dawn on Me
3). No Voice to Feed On
4). Gamma Soul
5). Into the Cauldron

Apothecary is:

Drew Holt | Guitars, Vocals
Andy Honer | Guitars, Vocals
Brad Moffit | Bass
Jarrod Ives | Drums (Session)


Your rocks may be little Arkansas but you're balls are huge. Hailing from Little Rock, or Conway as their bandcamp and facebook have conflicting hometowns, Arkansas' Apothecary boasts a surprisingly deep album. These guys cover a lot of range and dip their toes into many heavy genres throughout the span of “Drifting Towards the Ancients.” In addition, oddly enough they do sound a bit like fellow Arkansas powerhouse Pallbearer as the album progresses; expect more on the riffy side and less lead guitar melodies. Apothecary will sit on a riff and drub you with it,
their vocals are delivered similarly too and foray into the depths of black and death metal, with a touch of grind core to the backing vocals.

This is a very well recorded effort by Apothecary, they use a lot of different textures, particularly in the vocals, and everything can be very clearly heard throughout the whole album. The weird minimalist solo right before the halfway point of the fourth track “Gamma Soul” is a particular highlight to me. The song writing on this one also belies a deep maturity for such a newer band as the following sections with the minimalist break leading back into a wide ranging melodic section are very well executed and is not something seen often in newer bands. I would also be inclined to say the last two songs are my favorites on the album. During the final track “Into the Cauldron” Apothecary drops some vintage high pitched 80s vocals that both come out of left field and are awesome. The lead break that functions as a bridge in this song is very tastefully done and I really like how drummer Jarrod Ives handles this section with a simple beat but very nice fills which he gradually adds without overwhelming the section.

A weird side note is that whilst looking at the band's facebook, their bassist has a pretty awesome looking mask painted on his speaker cab grille. It's looks like something out of Pan's Labyrinth, it's pretty fucking cool looking and if that paint is glow in the dark that shit would look badass on stage. Another slight tangential detail is their pretty cool gear choices, with the bassist Brad Moffit rocking a 6 string Ibanez and one guitarist has one of the nicer Agile Les Paul knockoffs.   It's interesting to hear a band using not-insanely expensive gear and still sound way better then lots of people that are. I would also like to shout out to the artist Adrian Baxter who did the cover art which echoes the gates of Moria in Lord of the Rings framing a wild looking zombie scarecrow?

In closing, this album is a definite grower. Apothecary uses perfect pacing and a masterful dynamic range to move through the wide spectrum of underground metal. To call this only a “doom” album, does it a disservice because this album crosses boundaries in ways that show a willingness to experiment. I would say this is a must buy, and looking at their t-shirts, those are a must buys too, definitely some cool artwork and great job guys. One of the best of the year to date.

Words by: Chris Tedor

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