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Review: Apothesary – Accept Loss Forever

From Northern California, Apothesary released their album “Accept Loss Forever” on the 7th of July. While categorized as deathcore, the undeniable talent and instrumental finesse of their sound caters to hardcore and metalcore audiences alike.

The very first track “Sensory Overload” had taken me by surprise many times; you see, from a deathcore band, I would never have expected the following. The song starts out as what would seem a typical hardcore song with a metalcore breakdown here and there. The exchange is nice as new waves of riffs and breakdowns just keep on coming, but what makes this song unusual in this day and age are the jazz and progressive interludes we have not heard since the Avenged Sevenfold days. I have to say, the only thing remotely deathcore about this track is the vocals. In saying that, I am pleased to notice that there is very little studio interference; no pitch-shifting or anything else that would make a live performance disappointing. The highlight of this track for me was the strange isolated bass interlude along with a surprise tremolo segment tying into a palm-mute anthem. Considering there are so many metalcore and hardcore segments, it is important to note that there are some very decent sounding guitar solos.

Going a little over two minutes, “Two Minute Hate” is a very upbeat track that sounds like it’s influenced by thrash and death metal. For some reason I’m reminded of Vital Remains. In fact, the only thing that stops the song from passing off as death metal is the vocals. Casual listeners cannot for the life of themselves tell the difference between deathcore and death metal vocals, so I can easily imagine this song getting mistaken for death metal many times. Other than that, the lead harmonies near the end of the song sound like they build up to something big, only for the track to abruptly stop there… personally I think the song would be perfect if there was something like a breakdown or a solo break to finish the track.

“1976” had a sort of instrumental layout similar to earlier Lamb of God, and let’s face it, saying you like Lamb of God is like saying you like bread and milk. However, I really think the vocal flow could have been better; the slow hyperventilating worked, the laughter worked, but the rapid flow felt uninspiring and all over the place. The height of the song would have to be the flamenco interlude leading into some catchy guitar solos interjecting and intertwining. The vocals do get better near the end of the song, but the rubble-rubble during the verses and chorus just didn’t work for me.

Fourth on the list “Elizabeth” is the song where the vocals and guitars fit perfectly. Instrumentally, there seems to be a real [earlier] In Flames influence. Structurally, vocally, and instrumentally, I think this is one of the best songs on the whole album. If they’re looking to make a video clip or sign up to a major label, this would be the song they would want to go with. Enough said.

The title track “Accept Loss Forever” has a real Sum 41 and NOFX feel. It’s catchy and has that undeniable punk rock setting. It even has that bass interlude that leads into a palm-muted bridge – takes me back to The Offspring days when I was in high school. If this band identifies as a deathcore act, they are perhaps one of the most open-minded deathcore acts to date.

“Making Up For Lost Time” is a very mellow and somewhat depressive number with a talking track that makes the listener question the current state of the United States of America and their perception of the American Dream. The tune is very sad and has an accompanying lead that suits it well. As for the theme of the track… look guys, I don’t live in America, It’s not my place to agree or disagree with what’s being said about it. This one I leave to you – I just like the tune…

It is songs like “You’ve Met with A Terrible Fate” that really make me question this band’s genre. I know they identify with deathcore, but this whole song sounds metalcore left, right, and center. By metalcore, I mean at its golden age with bands like [early] Bullet For My Valentine and As I lay Dying – none of this low-key boy band garbage they’re trying to peddle. There are so many interesting riffs that go back to the days where metalcore was strongly influenced by melodic death metal. The segments I just love are between 1:14 – 1:25 and 2:51-3:04. I cannot get enough of how amazing the guitar leads and vocals sound together. This is a work of genius.

Beginning with a melodic harmony, “Knight” actually has some clean vocals over modest chugs in the verses – a very bold move this time of year. The pre-verse returns the vocals to their harsh feel with a hint of melancholy, whereas the bridge is a surprising tremolo anthem leading in an emotionally rich guitar solo going for an extended lead break. Honestly, I can appreciate the diversity put into this album, considering this song is a lullaby. There is nothing wrong with the song, but I just can’t imagine myself listening to it every time I go through the album.

“Woodland Critter Christmas” has many fine moments in the verses and pre-verses as a thrash/hardcore number. The whole song is chaotic and unpredictable, and I love how it remains fast for the majority of the song. This is the song they would want to have at every live show. In fact, I can see this song being potentially dangerous for many mosh pit participants; crowd-killing would be imminent, and I can imagine many walking away with cuts and bruises at the end of the song, let alone the whole set.

Featuring guitarist Bill Hudson, “Tempest (Even Tide)” reminds me so much of Unearth – affectionately described as metalcore’s very own Slayer. There are so many incredible riffs and breakdowns in this song, but the absolute high-point of this song is the tasty sweep-errific guitar solo. This is the type of song I would listen to over and over just for the guitar solo and the ending breakdown – another one for the playlist.

The final track “Expressionless Me” begins mellow with acoustic tremolos before breaking out into a hardcore frenzy and an almost power metal lead. The verse, chorus structure of the song however is a bit of a love-hate exchange for me; some parts are intriguing and catchy while others are all over the place. Halfway through though, the change in pace and melody rescue the song in a buildup led by a talking track which goes on a fair bit. The theme is about suicide, possibly one of the most discussed topics of the year. Perhaps it is a message for all of us to do our bit by raising awareness and looking out for one another.

I give this album an 8.5/10. There were a few segments that did not work for me, but overall, I think this is one of the better metalcore sounding albums in the last five years. I really hope they keep their style in future albums because I think more metalcore bands should be sounding like this.

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