Apocrophex – Æternalis

Taking the spooky-sounding word ‘apocrypha’ and giving it a little tweak, the New Jersey duo of Justin Buell and Pete Colucci became known as Apocrophex in early 2013 and released their initial recording, the Wheels Within Wheels EP (Manicidic) in 2014. Their full-length debut Suspended From the Cosmic Altaar (Manicidic) followed in 2015, and the pair recently recruited French session drummer Kévin Paradis (Benighted, ex-Svart Crown) to work on their new, independently released, album, Æternalis.Continue reading

Apocrophex – Suspended From The Cosmic Altaar

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I wonder if Justin Buell was the sort of guy who was naturally brilliant at everything at school, too? Well, either which way, he sure knows his way around a Death Metal release, providing guitars, bass and programming (I’m assuming from that, the drumming, though phenomenal, is not played by human hands and feet – not that this should detract from the overall praise for this release) as well as mixing and mastering a very pro sounding recording.

Ably backed up by the cleverly pitched vocals of Pete Colucci, Suspended From The Cosmic Altaar (Manicidic) is the debut release of New Jersey duo/project Apocrophex, and it makes a damn fine impression. Sitting comfortably in the Technical Death Metal field, where Apocrophex prove themselves more than able and one to watch is in their ability to be both dextrous of finger and riff, but without sacrificing their ability to pull together listenable and hook-laden, extreme songs.

Technical Death Metal is not just about string-skipped riffs, but about nailing the grooves and giving the listener something to latch onto. Well aware of this, in amongst the taut-to-the-point-of-snapping riffs sit dark discordant melodies, Apocrophex have moments of Morbid Angel’s complex but indelible from the brain once drilled in riffage, and pay reverence to the king and master of the balance of technicality and memorable extreme metal writing, Chuck Schuldiner with ‘Evidence of a Desolate Planet’ falling to its knees at the Human (Relativity/Relapse) altar. Elsewhere, there is an awareness of the role of atmospherics with touches of classic DissectionThe Somberlain (No Fashion), adding even more succulent fruit to the pie.

Whether this is a first album or not, Suspended From The Cosmic Altaar would still have made a positive impression; it maintains consistency throughout and is one of the most listenable Death Metal releases for a while. Managing to sound distinctive, referential, be technically precise and memorable is a pretty difficult gig to get these days, but Mr Buell has proven his capability and ability to do just that.

 

7.5/10

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STEVE TOVEY