As subgenres of metal continue to evolve, their vaguely defined borders become irrevocably blurred to the point where one would either engage in fruitless pseudo-academic ontology or disregard the idea of subgenre classification altogether. The young upcoming four-piece Apothesary is one of dozens of bands that proficiently blend different styles to create their own well-balanced sound. The American quartet from northern California provides an energetic and exciting mix of thrash and death metal influences on their sophomore album Accept Loss Forever which comes six years after its predecessor. The album’s overarching theme of grief and loneliness, as rather crudely expressed by its title, ties the eleven tracks together to provide some coherence to the album as a whole.
“Sensory Overload” starts the album off with youthful haste as it rumbles on with heavy chugging riffs while taking a page from deathcore through using breakdowns to create an engaging contrast with the blasting. This is immediately followed by the two minute long “Two-Minute Hate” which runs on pure adrenaline and, apart from the guttural vocals, would have fit in perfectly on any early Dark Angel album. The even shorter title track clocks in at merely 81 seconds and comes off as a lighter grindcore cut that becomes less edgy as it goes along. “1976” is pretty much straight up Swedish melodic death metal, complete with double guitar melodies and a blistering tempo from start to finish.
The album’s forty six minute span isn’t all mosh pit material though. One of the most noteworthy tracks is the six minute long “Knight”. This is a slower piece with a few dynamic transitions and a more deliberate execution that features the first confident use of clean vocals on the album. The clean vocals on their own are not used as the forefront of the song, which is probably the better decision. They do however succeed in creating a contrast with the harsher and more predictable growls. “Woodland Critter Christmas” follows “Knight” and brings proceedings back to the frenetic blasting, thudding breakdowns and soaring lead guitar lines and it serves as a reminder that Apothesary finds its strength in this hybrid of modern thrash and Swedish melodic death metal.
As commonly seen with numerous metal bands, the last cut on the album is the longest one; in this case it’s the eight minute long “Expressionless Me”. Despite the name, this is the most expressive tracks on this record as it courses through a variety of emotions; from anger to dejection to despair and it comes with very skilled musicianship that matches that variety. It’s a track that adequately sums up the album’s qualities in the end of it which may indicate that it was the last one Apothesary has written. Accept Loss Forever has been a long time coming but it certainly plays out like a very well thought out album that showcases the skills of this young and exciting band. It may be easy to argue that it’s a modern death metal album with thrash influences but it is undoubtedly easier to just enjoy it with a disdain for nomenclature.
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Accept Loss Forever is available 7/7 via M-Theory Audio and can be pre-ordered here.