Few bands can effectively mine misery and heartache with such woeful proficiency as
’s Apostle of Solitude. In preparation for the band’s third full-length, the revised lineup—now including Steve Janiak of Devil to Pay on guitar and multi-band alumnus Bob Fouts on bass—has recorded a three song demo conspicuously titled ‘Demo 2012’. Despite the lineup changes the overall mission and approach has remained the same. Chuck Brown’s unique, emotive vocals are still at the forefront as the band doles out a potentially lethal cocktail of crushing traditional doom, hard rock, and metal. If anything, the lineup change has focused and fine-tuned the band’s sound. Indianapolis, Indiana
‘Demo 2012’ opens with “Blackest of Times”, one of the strongest tracks ever penned by the band. The song’s slow build can be attributed to a lone, lumbering doom riff that is eventually joined in unison by a second, overlapping riff, and Corey Webb’s hard-hitting percussion. The song’s intro isn’t overly long before it storms into a mid-paced groove that is highlighted by some heavy-as-Sabbath doom riffs, catchy lead guitar, and propulsive drumming. “Blackest of Times” doesn’t merely march to its end, but rather it launches into an up-tempo, head-banging metallic gallop before its conclusion. The second track, “Die Vicar Die”, comes crashing in, but eventually puts on the brakes. The majority of the track is slower than the demo opener and Chuck’s vocals really carry the weight of the tune. It’s not all snail-paced doom and gloom as the song builds in intensity and similar to “Blackest of Times” the song breaks into an up-tempo burner before returning to the chorus and ultimate conclusion. “Good Riddance” closes out the demo and returns to the doom metal chug intimated by “Blackest of Times”. “Good Riddance”, like the rest of the demo, really stands up to anything in Apostle of Solitude’s catalogue.
‘Demo 2012’ is a powerful statement from one of doom metal’s most unique bands. The addition of new members has not drastically changed Apostle of Solitude’s overall sound, but has seemed to result in heavier songs with more complexity. The band continues its cathartic examination of human existence by plumbing the depths of despair and uncertainty while crafting memorable tunes. The production of ‘Demo 2012’ is excellent and the release could easily be marketed and sold as an EP. Based on the strength of this demo Apostle of Solitude’s impending third release could result in the band’s heaviest and memorable album to date. As a teaser ‘Demo 2012’ has effectively built suspense and their newest release is highly anticipated. The limited run of CDs has sold out some time ago, but the demo is streaming on the band’s Bandcamp page and Sarlacc Productions is planning a limited run cassette release with download code. Highly recommended.
Words: Steve Miller
(Originally published at Doommantia)