Friday, February 13, 2015

…fraying at the ends: APOSTLE OF SOLITUDE – ‘Of Woe and Wounds’

After a two year long wait Indianapolis, Indiana’s Apostle of Solitude finally deliver on the promise of their excellent ‘Demo 2012’ (review HERE). With two exemplary full-lengths under their belt the band continues their trend of releasing an album that is arguably tighter, heavier, and dolefully more majestic than its predecessor. ‘Of Woe and Wounds,’ despite being bogged down by themes of internal unrest, addiction, disconnection, and mortality, is not merely a lethargic, glacial paced meditation on despair, but rather a doom-trodden reaction to anger and frustration wrought with some of the band’s heaviest, most blistering riffs.

‘Of Woe and Wounds’ is arguably Apostle of Solitude’s strongest album to date, largely due to the burgeoning compositional chemistry between vocalist and guitarist Chuck Brown and the playing of Steve Janiak. The slow-burn opening of “The Blackest of Times” is a thing of beauty as the layered guitars give rise to one of the band’s most infectious tunes. “Whore’s Wings,” a faster track from within the band’s discography, finds the duo locked into an impenetrable groove with support from the impressive rhythm section consisting of drummer Corey Webb and bassist Dan Davidson. “Lamentations of a Broken Man”—a tune that could easily have been drowned out by the more aggressive tracks on the album—is elevated by both an emotive and catchy vocal melody, particularly on the chorus, and the dual guitar harmonies of Brown and Janiak. This sluggish reflection on a life of loss and regret is elevated to one of the album’s most poignant moments.

“Die Vicar Die” and “Push Mortal Coil” are both reflections of Apostle of Solitude’s relatively more aggressive approach to songwriting this time around. “Die Vicar Die” initially begins as what could be considered “standard” doom fare, but soon evolves into one of the most satisfying fist-pumping anthems of the band’s career. “Push Mortal Coil” features impressive lead guitar, more dual guitar harmonies, and one of the album’s most satisfying main riffs.

‘Of Woe and Wounds,’ like the rest of Apostle of Solitude’s discography, is an attempted sonic exorcism of the demons of anguish and despair. Production-wise the album is flawless. Up to this point every one of the band’s albums have sounded great, but ‘Of Woe and Wounds’ seems to perfectly capture both the heft and melancholic beauty of the band. Look no further than “Luna” to illustrate the band’s ability to compose a tune that is heavy, yet embellished with a remorseful splendor. Despite the highlights of Chuck Brown’s vocals and his playing with Steve Janiak, enough cannot be said of Webb and Davidson. ‘Of Woe and Wounds’ will not disappoint longtime fans and should, based on the strength of the album as a whole, garner new fans. One of the standout highlights of 2014…



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