Apostasy - Cell 666
Black Mark
Blackened Thrash Metal
9 songs (41'36")
Release year: 2003
Black Mark
Reviewed by Alex

With a name like Apostasy (which means defection or renunciation of faith) one should expect something along the lines of black metal, but also something that does not conform to the boundaries, something seeking to get outside the lines. The expectations fall short as Apostasy delivers very safe, tried and true brand of blackened thrash which would have raised eyebrows (and horned fists) about 7 – 10 years ago.

Being a total unknown metal entity to me Apostasy's Cell 666 is a full-length release on Black Mark records, the label which brought us such revolutionary acts as Bathory and Edge of Sanity.

There is one thing I absolutely have to warn you about. If you can’t stand keyboards on a black metal record, stay the Hell away from Cell 666. This album is awash in synthesized keyboard sounds. The feeling ranges from psychedelic (the intro to Icon) to astral (7th Throne) to haunting “Moonlight Sonata” (the intro to Infernal Majesty), and, I swear, the middle break on Beauty of Death is reminiscent of The Promised Future Aeons from Dimmu Borgir’s Spiritual Black Dimensions. Had the keyboards play a supporting background role to the expansive melodies, like they do in the leads of Infernal Majesty and Icon, they would have greatly added to the atmosphere. The spots like this sound powerful and panoramic, but they are few and far between on Cell 666. Instead, synthesizers usurp the role of the guitar, trying to play thrashy riffs on Crowned in Thorns or outro licks in the title track. To my ears, what is supposed to sound creepy simply sounds amusing.

Where keyboards tone it down guitars don’t necessarily pick up the slack. You would not hear many furious speedy chops or out-of-this-world leads by Apostasy. What you will get is a steady dose of blackened thrash riffs supported by fast click-click-click (triggered?) drums. For the most part these riffs are generic and had been heard before. Combining parts and arranging in-song transitions also does not appear to be a strong suit (7th Throne).

The vocals are of extreme variety, but fairly non-offensive. I have to give the singer credit for coolly combining black and death metal voices in the single phrase (Cell 666, 7th Throne). For the large portion he stays away from processing his voice and using effects, which would have added the theatrical atmosphere.

If it seems to you that I sound too critical, let me recant and provide this bottom line. There is nothing wrong with Apostasy, if you like blackened thrash served with a generous helping of synth. If this album came out, let’s say, before Dimmu’s Enthrone Darkenss Triumphant, we all would have hailed it. There is just not much special about it either, and as soon as the album was over I did not have a feeling: “I need to hear and enjoy this again!” Warm quality production and provocative cover art do not make Cell 666 a landmark not-to-miss album. The music is certainly listenable, but it is just as well passable.

Killing Songs :
Infernal Majesty, Icon
Alex quoted 66 / 100
Other albums by Apostasy that we have reviewed:
Apostasy - Devilution reviewed by Jared and quoted 69 / 100
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