Apostle of Solitude Post Original Demos; Euro Touring Starts this Week

Posted in Whathaveyou on November 7th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

apostle of solitude old pic

As they prepare to head abroad later this week to tour in Austria, France, Belgium and Germany on a run bookended by appearances at Doom over Vienna XIII and Hammer of Doom XIII, Indianapolis doomers and all around national treasure Apostle of Solitude have posted their original demos from 2005 and 2006 for name-your-price public consumption via Bandcamp. The band has said it’s a limited-time thing, so if it’s the kind of whatnot you might be interested in, you might want to get while the getting’s good.

Of course, there have been some significant changes in the band’s sound in the last 13 years, but the mournful melodies and unmistakably doomed riffing is right there from the start, central to Apostle of Solitude‘s purpose even then. They go to Europe supporting this year’s From Gold to Ash (review here) full-length, a highlight of a strong 2018 in doom, and while it’s a lot of fun to revisit “Pale, Sick Horse” from the 2005 self-titled demo or the 11-minute rawness of “Life Like Quicksand” on 2006’s Embraced by the Black, there’s just no taking away from the quality of the work they’re doing now.

You can stream both demos and the album at the bottom of this post, because I feel strongly enough about that to include three embeds:

In honor of the Apostle of Solitude 2018 European tour starting this week, we are offering Bandcamp downloads of the first two Apostle of Solitude releases (the 2005 AOS Demo and 2006’s Embraced by the Black) with the “Name Your Price” option, for a limited time. link in the comments below.

Apostle of Solitude 2018 European dates:
11.09.18 – Vienna, Austria @ Viper Room Vienna DOOM OVER VIENNA XIII
11.10.18 – Marburg, Germany @ Knubbel Marburg w/ BST & Skinjob
11.11.18 – Lomme, France @ Bobble Café w/ Nornes
11.12.18 – Deinze, Belgium @ ELPEE Café w/ Growing Horns
11.13.18 – Oldenburg, Germany @ MTS LPs and CDs w/ BST
11.14.18 – Tilburg, Netherlands @ Little Devil Bar w/ BST and King Heavy
11.15.18 – Hamburg, Germany @ Bambi Galore w/ BST & King Heavy
11.16.18 – Wurzburg, Germany @ Posthalle Wurzburg HAMMER OF DOOM XIII
11.17.18 – Saarbrucken, Germany @ Horst w/ BST

APOSTLE OF SOLITUDE is:
Corey Webb – drums
Chuck Brown – guitars, vocals
Steve Janiak – guitars, vocals
Mike Naish – bass

www.facebook.com/apostleofsolitude
twitter.com/apostledoom
apostleofsolitude.com
www.cruzdelsurmusic.com
cruzdelsurmusic.bandcamp.com
www.facebook.com/cruzdelsurmusic
twitter.com/CruzDelSurMusic

Apostle of Solitude, Apostle of Solitude (2005 Demo)

Apostle of Solitude, Embraced by the Black (2006 Demo)

Apostle of Solitude, From Gold to Ash (2018)

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The Mound Builders Announce Jan. 18 Release for Self-Titled Album

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 25th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

The Mound Builders

It’s been a while since The Mound Builders made their debut with Strangers in a Strange Land (review here). Like, that was apparently 2011. Of course, they’ve hardly been idle since then, playing shows and releasing splits and EPs like Wabash War Machine (review here) in 2014. Still, if they were going to release a second album — hey, some bands don’t — it was probably time to do that. Thus arrives the bombast of The Mound Builders by The Mound Builders, set for release in the New Year via Failure Records and Tapes. What hath time wrought upon the Lafeyette, Indiana, sludgesters? I won’t pretend to know, but I’ve got a zip file on my desktop that’s going to let me find out, and needless to say, I’ll keep you posted.

No public audio yet, but the trusty PR wire brings album art and info, so have at it:

The Mound Builders The Mound Builders

The Mound Builders – The Mound Builders

Broadly speaking, bands that fall under the umbrella term of riff-worshippers – encompassing stoner, doom, and sludge metal – can fall under one of two categories. The majority of bands are content to walk (high as a kite) through the hills and valleys of their forefathers. A few, however, endeavor to take the tools that these legendary acts left and create new landscapes. Thus, we discover The Mound Builders from Indiana. While the blood of High on Fire, Buzzov*en and Crowbar among others flows through their veins, the resultant mix on their sophomore self-titled resembles the freshest dirt dug up for construction.

The most striking initial fact that jumps out on The Mound Builders is the fearless shift between tempos – instead of maintaining a reassuring tempo as many of their peers, they go from punk-inflected raging “Hair of the Dogma” to sludge metal swagger on “Separated From Youth”, stoner-thrash on “Star City Massacre” to vitriolic rough-and-tumble on closer “Vanished Frontier” – the latter of which has a stand-out vocal performance. The occasional pedal-manipulated solo wails out of nowhere – expertly handled by Brian Boszor, while the low end sounds both crisp and punishing as Robert Strawsma and Jason “Dinger” Brookhart hammer out relentless rhythms. You can spend any number of spins only hazarding a guess at influences, but the final result is a band who have their sound dialed in and know exactly how to wield it for maximum effect.

Narrating over the trio is the maniacal Jim Voelz, whose shrieks recall the great Johnny Morrow, and his growls echo the pains of the various strands of history from which the band draw lyrical inspiration, whether ancient tales or more recent life in their native Midwest, the grand cosmos or down here on Planet Earth. “It’s gonna be a massacre”, Jim warns, before another solo power-slides into existence, and it’s not long before the song in question comes to a crashing close.

It’s been seven long years since their début full-length Strangers in a Strange Land, and The Mound Builders have made good use of that time in their craft. Their self-titled is a step up and a step closer to honing that perfect mixture between so many styles. For now, they’ll just keep building and playing.

The Mound Builders will be released on Jan 18 2019.

Tracklisting:
1. Torchbearer
2. Hair of the Dogma
3. Separated From Youth
4. Acid Slugs
5. Star City Massacre
6. Regolith
7. Broken Pillars
8. Vanished Frontier

The Mound Builders live:
11.3.18 – Melody Inn – Indianapolis, IN
11.9.18 – Hobart Art Theatre -Hobart, IN
11.10.18 – Fireside Inn- Detroit, MI
12.8.18 – North End Pub – Lafayette, IN

The Mound Builders are:
Brian Boszor – Guitar
Jason “Dinger” Brookhart – Drums
Ryan Strawsma – Bass
Jim Voelz – Vocals

http://www.facebook.com/themoundbuilders
https://twitter.com/themoundbuilder
https://www.instagram.com/themoundbuilders/
https://themoundbuilders.bandcamp.com/

The Mound Builders Split w/ Pale Horseman (2016)

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Apostle of Solitude Touring in Europe Next Month

Posted in Whathaveyou on October 10th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

apostle of solitude

I’m glad Apostle of Solitude are touring Europe. That’s cool. I won’t see those shows, obviously, but it gives me an excuse to break out my copy of their 2018 album, From Gold to Ash (review here), and once again dig into “Ruination by Thy Name,” “Keeping the Lighthouse,” “My Heart is Leaving Here,” and the rest. I’ll finish writing about their upcoming stint next month that starts at Doom Over Vienna XIII on Nov. 9 before the record is done probably, but whatever. No way I’m not listening to it straight through. Why the hell would I stop it?

The Indianapolis four-piece were out this summer with Pale Divine on a tour that it was my pleasure to have this site co-present, and as they make their way toward Hammer of Doom XIII — I guess a lot of Euro doomfests got started around 2005? — they’ll do gigs with BST, Growing Horns and King Heavy. They’re not a band who get abroad all the time, so if you can see them, consider it recommended not just because they kill it live, which they do, but also in a get-while-the-getting’s-good kind of way.

They have a couple warmup shows later this month in Kentucky as well and sent the following announcement down the PR wire:

apostle of solitude euro tour poster

Apostle of Solitude – EUROPE 2018

Following the spring release of the band’s 4th full length album, From Gold To Ash (Cruz Del Sur Music) earlier in the year and a summer tour of the southern United States with Pale Divine, Apostle of Solitude have announced a European Tour in November. The tour includes dates in Austria, Germany, France, The Netherlands, and Belgium, a performance on the big stage at the legendary Hammer of Doom festival, and a headlining appearance at the 13th annual Doom Over Vienna festival. Prior to the tour, catch Apostle of Solitude October 26 in Louisville, KY or October 27 in Nicholasville, Kentucky.

Apostle of Solitude tour:
11.09.18 – Vienna, Austria @ Viper Room Vienna DOOM OVER VIENNA XIII
11.10.18 – Marburg, Germany @ Knubbel Marburg w/ BST & Skinjob
11.11.18 – Lomme, France @ Bobble Café w/ Nornes
11.12.18 – Deinze, Belgium @ ELPEE Café w/ Growing Horns
11.13.18 – Oldenburg, Germany @ MTS LPs and CDs w/ BST
11.14.18 – Tilburg, Netherlands @ Little Devil Bar w/ BST and King Heavy
11.15.18 – Hamburg, Germany @ Bambi Galore w/ BST & King Heavy
11.16.18 – Wurzburg, Germany @ Posthalle Wurzburg HAMMER OF DOOM XIII
11.17.18 – Saarbrucken, Germany @ Horst w/ BST

APOSTLE OF SOLITUDE is:
Corey Webb – drums
Chuck Brown – guitars, vocals
Steve Janiak – guitars, vocals
Mike Naish – bass

www.facebook.com/apostleofsolitude
twitter.com/apostledoom
apostleofsolitude.com
www.cruzdelsurmusic.com
cruzdelsurmusic.bandcamp.com
www.facebook.com/cruzdelsurmusic
twitter.com/CruzDelSurMusic

Apostle of Solitude, From Gold to Ash (2018)

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Spirit Division to Release Forgotten Planet Aug. 31; Track Streaming Now

Posted in Whathaveyou on July 30th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

spirit division

If you’re up for such things, Spirit Division‘s third album, Forgotten Planet, is available now to preorder through their Bandcamp page. Set for issue on Aug. 31, it’s the third album from the Indianapolis doomers, who are streaming the track “River Rising” now to herald the impending. Those who heard either 2016’s No Rapture or their 2015 self-titled debut (review here) will find the three-piece’s doom rock modus intact, with an undercurrent of traditional metal suited to their Midwestern home. They cite The Gates of Slumber as an influence, but while both acts fall broadly under a trad-doom umbrella, the riffing of “River Rising” seems to be drawing from other sources as well. I haven’t heard the record yet, but the third of the nine total inclusions makes a suitable introduction to anyone unfamiliar, and finds them sans-pretense in style and delivery.

The PR wire has album details, and you can find the track streaming at the bottom. Dig it:

spirit division forgotten planet

SPIRIT DIVISION Reveals Details On Third Full-length ‘FORGOTTEN PLANET’; Pre-order Available Now, Album Releases August 31st

Spirit Division is pleased to announce the completion of their third album, Forgotten Planet, with the full-length offering set for release on August 31, 2018.

Forgotten Planet represents a bold change in direction for the Indianapolis doom trio. The nine-track composition includes longer, more elaborate song structures, the band braiding the sonic cord from an array of deeper influence than before. The lyrics are also the darkest and most nihilistic that Spirit Division has ever written. Much of this can be attributed to the recruitment of Andy Bowerman (guitarist/vocalist), whose energetic style and intense approach has well integrated with Jace Epple’s intricate drumming patterns, as well as founding member (vocalist/bassist) Chris Latta’s melodic sensibility.

Bowerman also provided the striking artwork for Forgotten Planet and helmed much of the recording process. Drum recording and overall mixing were done at The Swollen Goat by Jeff Kaleth (of fellow Hoosier group Astral Mass), with mastering handled by Collin Jordan at The Boiler Room LLC.

Forgotten Planet – Track List:

1. Forgotten Planet
2. Nothing To Be Missed
3. River Rising
4. The Light That Shines (When All Must Die)
5. Seeking The Crow Witch
6. Behemoth
7. Half-Hearted
8. Solitude
9. King Of Scars

Some words from Spirit Division about the creation of Forgotten Planet:

“Forgotten Planet is easily the most experimental album Spirit Division has recorded. The songs are longer and more complex, but also very emotional in places. I had a feeling we would be going in a direction like this when Jace and I first started arranging new songs after No Rapture, but Andy brought an aggressive edge when he joined. He really pushed us to explore different sounds that we wouldn’t have otherwise. It’s truly a testament of how far we’ve come as a band” – Chris Latta (vocals/bass)

“Forgotten Planet felt like a raw exposure of the shadow self, that part of humanity most people don’t like to talk about” – Jace Epple (drums)

The first single “River Rising” is available for streaming on Spirit Division’s Bandcamp page.

Upcoming Live Dates:
Aug 25 – Louisville, KY @ Highlands Tap Room (w/ Majutsu, Batwizard)
Sep 29 – Indianapolis, IN @ Black Circle Brewing (w/ Destroyer Of Light, Thorr-Axe, Drude)

SPIRIT DIVISION is (left to right):
Chris Latta: Vocals, Bass
Jace Epple: Drums
Andy Bowerman: Guitar, Vocals

https://www.facebook.com/SpiritDivision
https://instagram.com/spiritdivision/
https://twitter.com/SpiritDivision
https://spiritdivision.bandcamp.com/

Spirit Division, Forgotten Planet (2018)

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The Obelisk Presents: Apostle of Solitude & Pale Divine Tour Dates

Posted in The Obelisk Presents on June 19th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Earlier this year, Indianapolis four-piece Apostle of Solitude threw themselves into contention for the best doom release of 2018 with their fourth album, From Gold to Ash (review here), but before the year is out, one hopes, Pennsylvania-based trio Pale Divine will have their first long-player in more than half a decade released by Shadow Kingdom, and there’s little doubt it’ll have its own argument to make in that regard. If you want a preview of the head-to-head matchup that seems likely to at least make my December more difficult come year-end list time, the two bands will hit the road together next month for a tour of which I’m proud to count this site among the presenters. I know I’ve said this before, but pretty much anytime Apostle of Solitude do anything — video, new track, shows, whatever — I’m happy to be involved somehow. The company they’re keeping on this run only makes that truer.

You can dig the dates below, as well as copious linkage and album streams, because it’s good to be informed and all that kind of thing, but the point here is you should go see these bands. Especially if you haven’t, but even if you have. Apostle of Solitude are riding their best stuff to-date, and Pale Divine are heralding the release of a new record, and I don’t know if you knew this about them, but that’s not exactly something that happens every day.

Dates follow as put together by Hi-Wattage Booking:

pale divine apostle of solitude tour poster

Apostle of Solitude & Pale Divine – 2018 How the West Was Doomed Tour

7/20 Lafayette LA – Freetown Boom Boom Room w Forming the Void & Doomstress
7/21 Houston TX – Dan Electro’s (1pm early show)
7/21 San Antonio TX – Faust Tavern
7/22 Austin TX – Beerland w Witchcryer
7/23 Dallas TX – Prophet Bar w Kin of Ettins, Space Ape & Stone Machine Electric
7/24 Fort Smith AR – Hero’s w RedWitch Johnny
7/25 Shreveport LA – Bear’s w 18th State
7/26 Memphis TN – Growlers w Admiral Longtooth
7/27 Indianapolis IN – State Street Pub w Desert Planet
7/28 Chicago IL – Reggie’s w deepspacepilots

Apostle of Solitude is:
Corey Webb – drums
Chuck Brown – guitars, vocals
Steve Janiak – guitars, vocals
Mike Naish – bass

Pale Divine is:
Greg Diener – vocals & guitar
Ron “Fezzy” McGinnis – bass & vocals
Darin McCloskey – drums

www.facebook.com/apostleofsolitude
twitter.com/Chuck_solitude
apostleofsolitude.com
www.cruzdelsurmusic.com
cruzdelsurmusic.bandcamp.com
www.facebook.com/cruzdelsurmusic
twitter.com/CruzDelSurMusic

https://www.facebook.com/serpentspath/
http://www.paledivineband.com/
https://www.facebook.com/ShadowKingdomRecords/
https://twitter.com/ShadowKingdom/
https://shadowkingdomrecords.bandcamp.com/
https://www.shadowkingdomrecords.com/

Apostle of Solitude, From Gold to Ash (2018)

Pale Divine, Painted Windows Black (2012)

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Apostle of Solitude Post “Ruination be Thy Name” Video

Posted in Bootleg Theater on March 23rd, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Apostle of Solitude

If Apostle of Solitude wanted to just go ahead and make a clip for each of the non-intro/interlude tracks on their new album, From Gold to Ash (review here), I’d be cool with that. As long as I get to premiere one or two of them. Thus far in giving the record video interpretation, they’ve covered side A (if in reverse order) between their prior clip for the ultra-hooky “Keeping the Lighthouse” (posted here) and the new one below for post-intro opener “Ruination be Thy Name.” That leaves “My Heart is Leaving Here,” “Monochrome (Discontent)” and “Grey Farewell.” I say go for it. Those last couple tracks get pretty morose, but screw it, it’s doom. If you can’t handle being miserable, you’re in the wrong subgenre.

Unlike its darker companion piece inthe prior video, “Ruination be Thy Name” is pretty bright in its (visual) tone, comprised of manipulated green-screen performance footage edited together to the rhythm of the song itself. And it’s a considerable rhythm. Where later on, From Gold to Ash gets into some particularly heart-rending fare, both “Ruination be Thy Name” and “Keeping the Lighthouse” bask in more middle-ground tempos and some of the album’s most resonant hooks. Massive groove abounds, naturally, and “Ruination be Thy Name” seems to be built as much around its nodding riff as the repetitions of its title line. One way or another, it provides one of From Gold to Ash‘s most memorable impressions, and as the de facto leadoff cut, it emphasizes just how much the band has grown in the last several years.

I said in my review that this is one of the year’s best records. Well, since I wrote that I’ve only heard more of the candidates, and I completely stand by the earlier statement. From Gold to Ash shows how much life there can be in so-called traditional doom when a band works so diligently to make those traditions their own. If you haven’t checked it out yet, you should. That’s about all there is to it.

Enjoy the clip below, followed by more info from the PR wire:

Apostle of Solitude, “Ruination be Thy Name” official video

U.S. Doom Giants APOSTLE OF SOLITUDE have released the official video for “Ruination Be Thy Name,” a track from new album From Gold to Ash.

Cruz Del Sur Music released From Gold to Ash February 23 on CD, vinyl LP, cassette, and digital formats.

CD: http://tinyurl.com/yaty2zet
Vinyl: http://tinyurl.com/ycjz3elg
Digital (album stream): apostleofsolitude.bandcamp.com/album/from-gold-to-ash

APOSTLE OF SOLITUDE will host an album release show this Friday, March 23 at Black Circle Brewing in Indianapolis, along with Desert Planet, Devil to Pay and Shroud of Vulture.

A U.S. summer tour is currently in the works, as well as another trip across the pond with the band’s confirmed appearance at the 2018 installment of DOOM OVER VIENNA festival.

Recorded in September 2017 at Russian Recording in Bloomington, IN with studio mastermind Mike Bridavsky, From Gold To Ash offers seven songs of ambitious, aching doom. Largely defined by the heartfelt and emotive dual vocals of Chuck Brown and Steve Janiak, From Gold To Ash covers a wide spectrum of heavy, from raging instrumentals to introspective guitar duos, monolithic doom riffs and reflective, melodic heartache. From Gold to Ash is also the first APOSTLE OF SOLITUDE album to feature bassist Mike Naish (Astral Mass, Shroud of Vulture).

APOSTLE OF SOLITUDE is:
Corey Webb – drums
Chuck Brown – guitars, vocals
Steve Janiak – guitars, vocals
Mike Naish – bass

Apostle of Solitude on Thee Facebooks

Cruz del Sur Music website

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The Mound Builders Announce Trio of Upcoming Releases

Posted in Whathaveyou on February 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

the mound builders

I’ve you’re thinking it’s been a while since the last time we heard from Indiana heavy rockers The Mound Builders, you’re right. Their last standalone offering was 2014’s Wabash War Machine (review here), though they also had a split with Pale Horseman out in 2016. Still, it’s been a minute. 2018 looks to be packed for the four-piece, however, as they’ll have three new releases on the docket.

The first is a reissue of Wabash War Machine that seems to include new art. Fair enough. The second is a split through Failure Records and Tapes with The Lurking Corpses, Hailshot and No Breaks.And the third is a to-be-recorded self-titled full-length that they band will hope to release later in the year. Details on that one are obviously pretty sparse — it doesn’t quite exist yet, you see — but it’s cool to know they’re at the point where they’re ready to get to work on it. Hopefully it’s out before 2018 is done.

They sent the news down the PR wire:

The Mound Builders plan 3 releases for 2018!

Lafayette, IN Sludge Rockers The Mound Builders plan 2 releases for 2018 leading up to a brand new full length for late Fall/early Winter.

The first release slated for April 21st (Record Store Day) will be a re-release of the now out of print EP Wabash War Machine. The re-issue features new art work by Clayton Jarvis of Abom design and will include The Mound Builders 2 newest songs Black Drink Ritual and Hashashin previously only available on the 12″ split with Pale Horseman. These songs were originally intended to be on Wabash War Machine but were abandoned due to lack of funding and time. Wabash War Machine 2.0 is how we intended to originally release it and we are excited to finally share this complete version with our fans!

The 2nd release, scheduled to drop Memorial Weekend (May 25th) will be the 3rd installment of Failure Records and Tapes 7″ series “Split Hits the Fans”. This 4 way split features a new, punk’d out version of our song Sun God as well as new music from Midwest favorites, The Lurking Corpses, Hailshot, and No Breaks. Pre-sales available now through the link below.

http://failurerecordstapes.bigcartel.com/product/the-mound-builders-hailshot-the-lurking-corpses-no-breaks

Finally we will be in the Studio late March to track our first full length release in 7 years! The Mound Builders self-title will feature 8 brand new songs of all original material and will be released on Failure Records and Tapes! We hope to complete mixing and mastering and pick up our show schedule in April to support and promote our plans!

http://themoundbuilders.bandcamp.com
https://www.facebook.com/themoundbuilders
https://twitter.com/themoundbuilder
http://themoundbuilders.com/SITE/

The Mound Builders, Wabash War Machine (2014)

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Review & Full Album Premiere: Apostle of Solitude, From Gold to Ash

Posted in audiObelisk, Reviews on February 20th, 2018 by JJ Koczan

Apostle of Solitude From Gold to Ash

[Click play above to stream Apostle of Solitude’s From Gold to Ash in its entirety. Album is out this week on Cruz Del Sur Music.]

Understand: I had reasonably high expectations for Apostle of Solitude‘s fourth album. No reason not to, frankly. Since making a splash a decade ago with their debut full-length, Sincerest Misery (discussed here), they’ve never failed to move forward either in their approach or overall quality of output. That was the case as 2010’s Last Sunrise (review here) followed and set the stage for its own follow-up, Of Woe and Wounds (review here), in 2014. Now, between those two records a pivotal change was made in the band that saw founding guitarist/vocalist Chuck Brown and drummer Corey Webb bring aboard guitarist/vocalist Steve Janiak, also of Ripple Music heavy rockers Devil to Pay, to add complement to Brown‘s emotional delivery and thickness and volume to the sound overall. The short version is it worked.

The long version is it worked splendidly. And while it would be rational to imagine that a band whose output across three records has always been geared toward a healthy amount of progression would continue to progress, the fourth Apostle of Solitude, titled From Gold to Ash and issued as their second for knows-its-metal-imprint Cruz Del Sur, surpasses any and all expectations one might’ve placed on it. To be blunt, it is the kind of album that bands go their entire careers trying to make. And I fully recognize that sounds like hyperbole, but as executions of American doom metal go, there’s really nothing more one could ask of these seven tracks, which have weight in their atmosphere and emotion as much as their riffs, huge grooves cut through by melancholic harmonies between Janiak and Brown, and a continued development in songcraft that has produced some of the most memorable Apostle of Solitude material to-date.

In several important ways, From Gold to Ash is a direct follow-up to Of Woe and Wounds, and I think even the construction of the two titles hints at that. Now rounded out by bassist Mike Naish, the band returned to Mike Bridavsky to helm the recording, with whom they’ve worked since Last SunriseBridavsky brought a notable shift in clarity to Of Woe and Wounds, and that’s something From Gold to Ash continues. Apostle of Solitude sound unabashedly melodic, and though they’re distorted, rumbling, crashing and heavy, tracks like “Ruination be Thy Name” and “My Heart is Leaving Here” prove spacious enough to allow for dynamic changes in volume and tempo and overall feel, and across the 43-minute offering, the band creates a mire that’s as much heart-rending as it is headbang-worthy, their plod worthy of earliest Trouble even as they call out Pentagram‘s Be Forewarned on the penultimate “Monochrome (Discontent)” en route to rolling closer “Grey Farewell.”

The interaction between Brown and Janiak on vocals and guitar, frankly, is the most outward point of growth on the part of the band — that is, the easiest to perceive — and this makes sense. It would have to be. Either proves capable of taking the frontman position for a given song — Janiak plays that role in Devil to Pay — but it’s in cuts like centerpiece highlight “Keeping the Lighthouse” (video posted here) and in the chorus of “Ruination by Thy Name,” which arrives following the extended intro “Overlord” and delivers both an irresistible swaying groove and much of the lyrical perspective in the line, “To be wounded, and to be maimed, is to exist,” in a midsection break following the second and not-at-all final runthrough of one of From Gold to Ash‘s most resonant hooks.

Apostle of Solitude

It’s telling that the band would separate “Ruination by Thy Name” and “Keeping the Lighthouse” by the quiet 90-second guitar interlude “Autumn Moon,,” allowing the listener to properly recover from the one before moving onto the next, but they do no such favors when it comes to From Gold to Ash‘s final three tracks — a salvo that begins with the 10-minute “My Heart is Leaving here” and continues with “Monochrome (Discontent)” and the finale “Grey Farewell),” both of which top seven minutes and thus are longer than either “Ruination by Thy Name” (6:37) and “Keeping the Lighthouse” (a tidy 6:23). The reason that matters is because after “Keeping the Lighthouse” crashes to its end, “My Heart is Leaving Here” picks up with quiet, echoing guitar and seems to move the album into a different section entirely — it’s the moment where the listener enters “the thick of it.”

Slower, more depressive, more regret-filled, the calls and responses of “My Heart is Leaving Here” are a point at which From Gold to Ash reaches a new stage of expressiveness, and likewise becomes more immersive. It is doomed revelry of the highest order, building toward a guitar solo and huge lumbering finish in which a cymbal wash gives way to the drum fill at the beginning of “Monochrome (Discontent),” on which Janiak seems to take the forward vocal position as he did on “Luna” from Of Woe and Wounds, with results no less successful. Another sorrowful lyric and rolling riff gives way to a stretch of minimal guitar and punching bass after the halfway point — a bridge, essentially, and not a long one — but the peaceful moment is effective in conveying Apostle of Solitude‘s overarching dynamic and the various means through which they’re able to convey a forlorn spirit.

“Monocrhome (Discontent)” drags itself to its ending without another word and “Grey Farewell” crashes in with a suitable largesse of plod before settling into a middle-paced push through one last trade between verse and hook that seems to summarize the various aspects of From Gold to Ash that have worked so well across both sides of the release. There might be a flourish of hope in the dual-layered/dual-channel guitar solo about three-quarters of the way through, but as one recalls the line, “No time can cure the rising anguish” from “My Heart is Leaving Here” and the shouted delivery of “anguish” as a part of that, the impression overall of From Gold to Ash is long since set. Its depressiveness is resonant throughout, but there’s nothing theatrical or overblown about Apostle of Solitude‘s delivery throughout. No drama, no pretense, no wasted time. The sincerity with which From Gold to Ash is executed is one of its great strengths, and while that’s been a key factor to the band’s aesthetic since their beginning, they’ve simply never reached the level they do here.

Let me be blunt: When 2018 is over, From Gold to Ash will have been one of its finest doom releases. Despite its downer sensibility, it is an utter triumph of form, and it should put Apostle of Solitude in a new echelon of consideration as one of the US’ finest purveyors of modern doom. It is a significant accomplishment, and one that should not be ignored or passed over for any reason. Recommended.

Apostle of Solitude, “Keeping the Lighthouse” official video

Apostle of Solitude on Thee Facebooks

Cruz del Sur Music website

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