‘Drifting Towards The Ancients’
This uneven five-song album sees sickly death-doom go head-to-head against Sabbathy traditional doom. The band’s wonderfully evocative name might suggest stoner or occult tendencies, but that would be misleading.
There is plenty of action lurking within ‘Drifting Towards The Ancients’ – the band string together lots of great ideas but there is little sense of cohesion or direction. While this may be deliberate (if the album’s vague-sounding title is any kind of clue), the lack of a clear purpose or vision leaves the listener bereft and bewildered.
Amidst the soupy mix, malformed riffs lurk within awkward, disparate arrangements. Ugly, raw vocals give way to disharmonious clean singing. Rusty guitars tones fight with clanking drums. Sometimes it works well, but more often the songs struggle for air, each element battling against its neighbour.
The eleven-minute epic ‘Gamma Soul’, featuring a glorious opening, is the standout track on the album – its simplicity and grandeur demonstrate that Apothecary can build momentum within a song, even though it later wanders off into a slightly indulgent solo before altering course during its second half.
Apothecary were formed in 2012 in Little Rock, Arkansas, USA and, following a 2014 EP, this is their debut full-length release. There are numerous moments of hope and glory to be found on ‘Drifting Towards The Ancients’, such as the disturbing death-doom of ‘Into The Cauldron’, but overall too little consistency for the album to work as a whole.