Apathy - Cold Endless Winter (Demo EP)
Artnoir Productions
Melodic Doom-Death
3 songs (12:07)
Release year: 2006
Apathy, Artnoir Productions
Reviewed by Ken
Surprise of the month

Apathy. Viktor Jonas. Remember the names.

The brainchild of an up-and-coming multi-instrumentalist known as Viktor Jonas, Apathy rose from the blackened remains of Sweden’s Nattstrype, a black metal band in which he played drums (and was then known as Vrede). They released three demos before deciding to disband.

The year was 2003.

The split allowed Jonas to focus on the guitar, an instrument he’d been playing for just a few weeks. He spent the next few years perfecting his newfound craft, writing and recording dozens of acoustic folk songs. He eventually decided it was time to share his music with the world. He recruited two friends to help with vocals and lyrics (Mattias Wetterhall), and bass (Sebastian Gustafsson), and this past March and April recorded his debut demo, Cold Endless Winter, a three song EP of melodic doom-death. Aside from the lyrics, the album’s music was written, produced, engineered, mixed and mastered by Jonas. A hefty task for any musician.

So what of the music?

When I first heard Cold Endless Winter I thought of it more as a slower-paced melodic death metal album, but as I listened to it more and more I realized it’s actually a mixed bag of melodic death metal and doom-death, heavier on the latter. Jonas approaches Apathy in the same manner that Slumber approaches their music, letting the simplistic rhythms bleed what appear to be complex soundscapes, haunting and rich, making it appear to be something it’s not. That is the beauty of Cold Endless Winter.

“Simplicity is the ultimate sophistication.” —Leonardo da Vinci

The title track is first up and is the slowest on the album, foreboding rhythms, preternatural atmospherics, a caustic black metal snarl and some excellent solo work throughout the entire song; a quiet breakdown features some clean vocals that, while good, sort of lack the emotive force to match the music. “The Ghost Of Me” wanders into your midst next, sharing kinship with “Cold Endless Winter,” but it’s a little heavier and a little more symphonic with a nice, memorable hook, there’s even a little sampling. The EP ends with “Black Day,” a monolithic and brilliantly dark slab of doom-death, depressive piano, fretless bass, black metal vocals seething in the vitriol and some more beautiful solo work.

“Genius might be the ability to say a profound thing in a simple way.” —Charles Bukowski

Cold Endless Winter is, simply put, a stunning debut. The compositions are delicate and subtle yet strong and commanding, the production is flawless, and though Jonas is a drummer he used programmed drums—no space for a real kit—on this EP and they sound virtually perfect! The only time I picked up on it was in certain spots where the high-hat sounded a bit too programmed, maybe just slightly too loud in the mix, but had I not known to listen for it, I would likely never have heard it. The songs average four minutes a piece and while that’s not so short for a song, I would have liked to have heard some more extended solos, or atmospheric breakdowns, especially with the piano and fretless bass.

It’s been a while since I’ve heard a debut this mesmerizing. If the path set is the path followed, Jonas will at some point find himself walking the roads paved by the likes of Dan Swanö, Peter Tägtgren and Devin Townsend.

Apathy. Viktor Jonas. Remember the names.

AUDIO: Cold Endless Winter, The Ghost Of Me and Black Day

Note: In time these links will likely becoming outdated.

Killing Songs :
The Ghost Of Me and Black Day
Ken quoted 90 / 100
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