Apocrophex – Æternalis (Review)

ApocrophexApocrophex are a US death metal band and this is their second album.

Now here’s a band I really like. Their debut EP Wheels Within Wheels showed great promise, which they then followed up with a year or so later with the stunning Suspended from the Cosmic Altaar.

It’s been a few years, but now we have Æternalis, which brings us another 42 minutes of Apocrophex’s individualistic technical death metal. In fact, it brings us Apocrophex 2.0.

Æternalis sees the band update their mix of technicality and brutality with additional blackened dissonance and dark atmosphere. This is a much more sinister and esoteric proposition, with the music balanced between focused aggression and controlled atmosphere. There’s both light and shade in abundance on this release. It’s both intricate and ferocious, the aural equivalent of  a complicated occult ritual, as channelled via the medium of blackened, technical, dissonant, atmospheric death metal.

The singer’s deathgrowls are as well-performed as always, but on Æternalis he has also borrowed a few extra styles from the black metal playbook; these include serrated screams and other, sometimes chant-like shouts, semi-cleans, cleans, and grim invocations. This is his best performance yet.

On Æternalis we find that Apocrophex have progressed and developed their style admirably. The aspect of chaotic technicality that they incorporated into their music has been reined in by the darker, more atmospheric side of their new material, making for a collection of songs that have more depth and substance to them than ever before. The technical death metal is still here, but now this is a much more blackened, malevolent, and mood-driven version of it.

An impressive and well-realised album. Highly recommended.

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