‘Time Of Terror’
(Released: March 2015)
Ukraine’s Apostate come howling from the vast expanses of Europe’s largest country (Russia is pan-continental) like a sickly black wind. They create long, twisting hymns of horror, expertly controlling their distinctive mix of woe and fury in order to ensure that we are, in equal measure, surprised and sated.
Ukraine’s oldest doom metal band started life in 1993 as a black/death metal outfit, initially lasting only five years. They reformed in 2009 and unveiled their debut album ‘Trapped In A Sleep’ a year later. Today, reflections of that ferocious past life remain, with the band switching between slow, hellish torture, melancholic groans of suffering and blasts of cataclysmic speed.
There are five songs on offer here, each around the 10-minute mark, and each showing a slightly different side to Apostate’s intriguing personality. ‘World Undying’, for example, showcases their commitment to timeless doom metal standards, while ‘Pain Served Slow’ features a riff that’s as delicate as it is complex, without ever losing the ever-present, house-demolishing power that this Ukrainian five-piece concoct.
The album’s standout track is perhaps ‘Pale Reflections’, with its curious time signatures, artery-popping guitars, tsunami drum work and evil, rasping vocals. When they put it all together, Apostate sound like a potent combination of Hooded Menace, 40 Watt Sun and Mayhem. With a splash of Celtic Frost’s vivid originality and, on the heart-wrenching ‘Memory Eclipse’, the epicness of Candlemass.
The switches to black metal come a little too frequently, almost becoming predictable as the album progresses. But it must be ceded that the songs are brilliantly moulded in order to blend both styles effortlessly. There is method in the madness.
Apostate’s ‘Time Of Terror’ is a confident, dynamic album that merges raw power with sophistication, as black metal brutality crashes into excellent, original doom metal – with devastating results.