It’s been a while since we’ve covered some straight ahead death metal. Thankfully the Netherlands based Apophys are here to end the drought with their upcoming album, Prime Incursion.
In death metal, it’s 50/50 whether you’re going to get a gentle intro track before the face melting metal, or if it’s face melting from the word go. Apophys opt for the straight ahead melt your face option, and in doing this set the tone for the rest of the album. It’s an album of heavy as a mammoths balls riffs and furious drumming.
You’ll notice from the start that they utilise much more melodic solos which is an interesting contrast as they certainly aren’t a melodic death metal band. These melodic segments over straight ahead brutality are an interesting twist.
A lot of death metal either tends to be speed focussed or technically focussed. While there’s nothing wrong with this, there are more than one band out there who forget the importance of the actual song as a whole. It’s not a melodic genre but it doesn’t mean we can’t have tunes. Apophys, while still quick and with a good chunk of technicality present, have clearly made the song writing the number one focus and as such, have created songs that are memorable and succinct. The songs don’t blend into one death metal mess is what you should take away from this.
The riffs and drums aren’t at a constant Formula 1 speed meaning you can get a good groove going, in tracks like The Sentient and The Final Step you can get a bit of a foot stomp going. Being able to get involved in the music from the simple act of a foot stomp, table drum or head nod plays a big part in getting into a song, it makes you pay attention and really focus on what’s going on.
In the live setting I can only image these songs will translate well. In Requiem for the Absurd alone there are moments for huge pits, headbanging and windmilling and all the other absurd (see what I did there?) things we do with our hair and bodies at a gig.
The Antidote starts with a spoken word segment (I want to say from I Am Legend). I, like many other metal fans enjoy slightly fucked ears and had to turn this up. Needless to say, the blast of metal when the song kicked in was a bit of a shock. It’s moments like that though, the small spoken word segments or brief ominous tones like between Dimensional Odyssey and Miscreants that do a lot to break up the death metal. They don’t have to last long, but they almost work as a ballad on a 70s rock album. It’s time to relax and rest before it’s all go again.
“With themes ranging from transcendental travel, rapid evolutionary progression, and global epidemics, to artificial intelligence,” (from the promo materials), Apophys have done wonders in separating themselves again from many of the other death metal bands struggling to gain traction. Avoiding the standard, guts, gore and dismemberment approach is a breath of fresh air. Don’t get me wrong, I love my over the top death metal bloodshed but it’s refreshing to see a different approach every now and again.
A point in the promotional materials that really shocked me was the age of the band. Having just formed in 2012, this is their debut album. This release really doesn’t sound like a debut, there’s no safe options, no real points where you think they’re just mimicking a genre leader as a safety net. There’s a lot of confidence in these songs and a lot more potential. There’s a bright future ahead for Apophys and it feels good to get in near the ground floor
Prime Incursion is out April 7th via Metal Blade. Follow the band on Facebook for more