Monday, January 18, 2016

Local Love: Review of Apostle of Solitude's Of Woe and Wounds

Of Woe and Wounds, the third full-length album by Apostle of Solitude, is the most ambitious effort that the Indianapolis doom group has put together so far. In contrast to the experimental tracks found on Sincerest Misery and Last Sunrise, this album makes a statement of definitive purpose and the song structures have a stronger feeling of unity and completion. It may be downright accessible by doom metal standards but the depths this album reaches also make it apparent that they haven’t lightened up by any means.

While Of Woe and Wounds rarely strays from the melancholic doom template popularized by Warning and Pallbearer, the changes in the band dynamic result in a few new quirks being thrown into the mix. The addition of bassist Dan Davidson gives the rhythm section a boost on “Whore’s Wings” and recruiting Devil to Pay guitarist/vocalist Steve Janiak results in extra care being put into the album’s vocal arrangements. His grungy timbre on “Lamentations of a Broken Man” makes me wish he had been more prominently featured but Charles Brown’s Reagers-style cries deliver excellent hooks on numerous occasions.

 The songs themselves also manage to cover a lot of ground in comparison to previous efforts. The pounding riffs and forlorn vocals on “Blackest Of Times” would’ve made it one of doom’s most brilliant openers if not for the “Distance And The Cold Heart” prelude while “Die Vicar Die” offers a simple but catchy hook to go along with its waltzing rhythms. Elsewhere, “Whore’s Wings” and “This Mania” aim to be the band’s fastest songs ever, “Push Mortal Coil” brings in some swing in the vein of “The Messenger,” and “Luna” just might be the band’s most downtrodden.

Apostle of Solitude has always been a band worth noting in the modern day doom scene, but their third full-length is a noteworthy achievement that should be looked into by just about any metal fan. The songwriting is much more focused and the songs have the potential to become major staples with a little more time and press behind them. The band will likely find ways to continue expanding their sound in the future but here’s hoping they’ll still live up to this standard of consistency.

“Blackest Of Times”
“Whore’s Wings”
“Die Vicar Die”
“Push Mortal Coil”

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