Review: Apotheosis “A Shroud of Belief” [MDD Records]

Review: Apotheosis “A Shroud of Belief” [MDD Records]

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Score 78%
Pray to your Gods
78 %
User Rating : 4 (1 votes)

The 90’s saw the rise and fall of many doom/death metal bands and Apotheosis are yet another one of those bands that never made it far. With only two albums released and one already further into gothic metal territory, they were perhaps destined to be forgotten. While the story of this band is nothing new, A Shroud of Belief is a chapter worth investigating in.

The first few tunes float in Paradise Lost-esque melancholy; bringing to mind Greg Macintosh’s guitar chops that haunt, float and soar above these crunchier and palm-muted rhythm sections. ‘Apotheosis’ introduces a grim, if not completely hopeless journey that owes as much to Shades of God due to the rock-solid leads, as it does to Icon due to the brisk-walking tempos that the rhythm guitars convey. While it’s a fitting tune to kick things off with, it doesn’t necessarily represent the record’s core ideals. The breezing groove burst of ‘White Angel – Dusty God’ brings to mind Bolt Thrower circa The IVth Crusade, if only Greg Macintosh had shared his ideas with the band during his post-death metal phase and even the gruff vocals bring to mind Karl Willetts. Again, it’s not much of a riff-centric track in a traditional sense, but these unquestionable grooves are quite something.

Showing what they’re capable of once they turn up the intensity near the end of the record is a weird move, but somehow that’s how it goes. The guitarists launch things into high gear with plenty of heavyweight riffs once you’re exposed to ‘No Breeding Ground’, resulting into a melodic, yet vigorous take on death metal; think of Gorement meets early Runemagick and you’re not far off. Although ironically titled, ‘Total Silence’ is another riff-tasty tune that provides far more action than drama. From the frantic thrashing riffs that collide with the blastbeats during its half, to the aura of traditional death metal becomes that becomes unfold once you’re past the peaceful interlude, it’s a banger of a tune that end A Shroud of Belief on a thrilling note.

Indeed, Apotheosis rarely run out of ideas, but not everything works as well as it should. Boyish and one dimensional in their delivery, clean vocals are reminiscent of those self-pity rock albums that would dominate the mid-late 90’s and that’s always a disadvantage. Funnily enough, that’s exactly what the shallow balladry of ‘A Landslide Called Eternity’ brings to mind and hence, it’s not hard to see why this is filler material. Another issue comes down to these inconsistent numbers that have their moments of glory, but also share their fair amount of craptastic sections. The title track doesn’t reach its final destination without issues and given it’s twelve minutes long, it should be obvious why this is a bit of a problem! Once it gets going, it becomes a sentimental trip down the memory lane with those divine Greg Macintosh-esque leads that are nothing but magic – especially between the slick guitar grooves that came before them.… but those fluffy pianos and annoying clean vocals prevent me from enjoying the tune too much. ‘Stars Beyond their Skies’ is another frustrating track; as Apotheosis flirt with melodic death metal with no superb results in that regard, even if I’m fond of the doom-driven crunchy bits that are scattered in between.

Flaws aside, the highlights of A Shroud of Belief make this record worth your time. Besides, the record could have ended up way worse than it did; be glad that it didn’t.

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About the author

I have been listening to metal since the age of... 14 or so. Besides music, I'm also interested in boxing, fitness, meeting new people and enjoy reading about a variety of topics.

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