Review - Apocryphon: Self Titled EP
A Spectacular Mix Of Death Metal And Psychedelia
Apocryphon are a true diamond in the rough. Playing a unique brand of psychedelic death metal, their genius is the ability to mix the orthodox with left field experimentation. They play with the charm of old school death metal, with tech-death being frequently let into the mix. The psychedelic influences are just icing on the cake, putting an interesting touch to an already amazing release. With strong songwriting, excellent instrumentation and unique psychedelic experimentation, Apocryphon stand firmly ahead of the pack.
Its difficult to pinpoint exactly why, but technical death metal and psychedelia mesh incredibly well together. Perhaps it is due to the contrasting styles. It worked incredibly well with Gigan's spectacular "Order of the False Eye". Orbweaver, who have an ex member of Gigan, also employ this style with great success. Before anyone gets the wrong idea, Apocryphon are certainly not strictly tech-death - they have plenty of orthodox riffs. They do, however, have many technical passages. The samples enhance the psychedelic vibe, with topics including subject matter like aliens and LSD. There occasionally brief psychedelic soundscapes, which helps this album stand apart from other death metal releases.
The instrumentation is spectacular. The guitar is a large part of what makes Apocryphon so special. The riffs are varied, never falling into a routine of monotonous formula. The lead guitar near the beginning of "Carnivophile" is incredible - being both ferocious and a bit bizarre; the arabesque tremolo that follows is an example of how Apocryphon try many different ideas with their music. The drums, while not as out there as Gigan or Orbweaver, are perfect at what they do. While they don't ever really take the forefront, their drummer is obviously a very talented man and always displays good taste. The bass also briefly takes centre stage at times, which is something they might want to consider doing more of in the future.
Apocryphon's ability to mix the orthodox with the bizarre is astounding. While many technical death metal bands forgo coherent song structures and many psychedelic bands go in a more formless jam oriented direction, these guys have serious chops when it comes to crafting a song's structure. Their songwriting is coherent and always go somewhere. Never do their songs drift off into a stagnant dirge - they are always fresh and enthralling.
Apocryphon are a shining example of how there is still new territory to explore in death metal. They bring new light to an old sound. With a solid mix of the familiar and the strange, this EP is great from beginning to end. The psychedelic sections are a wonderful addition, although not the main attraction, these parts do much to give this release character. One can only hope that the psychedelia is something that is even more prominent in their next release. This is a true gem, and one of the more interesting recent death metal releases.