Apostolum - Winds of Disillusion
Moribund Records
Black/Doom Metal
6 songs (55' 56")
Release year: 0
Reviewed by Andy

Italian black metal outfit Apostolum's first LP, Winds of Disillusion, feels as if it's more on the modern, pop side of black metal in some ways; at any rate, it certainly partakes of much of the blackened doom atmosphere of the late 90s and oughts. Their sound reminds me a little of fellow Italians Forgotten Tomb; lots of doomy, depressive passages mixed with steady, mid-tempo disco-beats. All in all, this one's not terrible to listen to, but there is very little in it that would hold me or get me to spin it again.

After a slowly built-up intro, the first real song, Unworthiness and Decay, comes on, filled with straightforward, buzzingly strummed guitar in a minor key to the accompaniment of acoustic guitar at times. The vocals are rough and harsh, but sound almost like the vocalist is straining to get the appropriate sound. Occasionally the song dips into periods of slow dragging, a sorrowful sound almost like a sound a modern gothic doom metal band would produce. The gothic parts aren't particularly convincing, though all the right elements are there -- the slow pace, the tinkly acoustic guitar, and the harmonized lead guitar melody over the top of the vocals and rhythm guitar. Higher Planes of Existence is almost exactly the same song -- more keyboard on the doomy sections, but very simple and minimal, with spoken-word samples just like Unworthiness and Decay. Debris of Perception had a different rhythm, but the sound was overall the same too.

Less Than A Step is more instrumental and softer, with less heaviness at first, though Apostolum eventually breaks out of that into a wall of doomy guitar noise almost at the end of the track. Unfortunately, it's hard to get around the fact that the listener basically just spent five minutes of his life on basic keyboard tunes without a whole lot of metal, black or otherwise, associated with it. The final track, Gleam of Lucidity, feels like this is the one the band has spent the most effort on, but there's not much in its methodical, simple mid-tempo beats to differentiate it from the first two full tracks -- it's just a longer version of them. Stone, the guitarist, puts a decent solo on this one, which makes it a little nicer to listen to, but there is very little of that, and much more boringly strummed riffs that makes one hope to go on to a more interesting part of the record. Towards the end, there is a gleam (no pun intended) of better possibilities, as Stone's guitars do a slightly more interesting harmony lead over those big blocky power chords, but that's just the fade-out -- and then the record's done.

As an album in an "extreme metal" genre, this doesn't fare well. Not all blackened albums have to be filled with insane shrieks and furious riffing -- but there has to be something inspiring to replace them, and here there simply isn't. Winds of Disillusion is the black-metal equivalent of elevator music -- one won't like it, but it won't annoy either. It's inoffensive, mediocre filler, and though Apostolum may get better with future releases, this one is not a promising start.

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