If someone had come to you in February of 2020 and explained what things would look like in November 2021, how many people would have outright decided to just opt out of that whole experience? It’s been an awful stretch of existence that have robbed so many of us of our sanity, our safety, and even worse, our loved ones. It’s not over, nowhere close, and so many seem to not even care to try.
Apostle of Solitude have been carving out their doom path for almost two decades now, and they’ve been a source for some of the darker elements in life, sometimes in uncomfortable form. But you never could question their intent, and as time has gone on, their sound rounded into something larger, more melodic, and that peaks on their new record “Until the Darkness Goes.” Right away, longtime listeners will notice some changes in that there are fewer songs than usual and that their playing has grown richer, but there’s something even darker inside. They, too, were impacted by the pandemic, and one of their members lost both parents, something that also has happened to me. Therefore, the songs this band—vocalist/guitarist Chuck Brown, guitarist/vocalist Steve Janiak, bassist Mike Naish, drummer Corey Webb—created for their fifth album hit even closer to home for them as this is the product of pain and suffering they very much endured and likely have to face every day when they wake up. It’s a struggle and a burden, and that comes across ion the music.
“When the Darkness Comes” dawns with strong guitar work wailing and bleeding in misery, barreling through as Brown’s singing wells in your chest. The playing travels through cold that makes your bones shake, the bass snarls, and burly crunching makes your heart feel heavy as Brown calls, “There is no way we survive,” as the track bows out. “The Union” is muscular and burns slowly while the center point pounds away. “From this truth we are taken, we all die alone,” Brown wails, making your existential heart ache as the song enters a low-end pummeling, and things buzz deeply until draining away. “Apathy in Isolation” takes time to mold and develop a mood, letting you swim in the waves. “It’s too late for sorrow, the sand’s run out,” Brown levels as the track slips into colder waters. The chorus is simple but effective as the guitars cascade, the sadness flows, and the final moments punch out.
“Deeper Than the Oceans” begins with clean riffs before things begin to buzz, and the misery spreads as Brown notes, “The requiem has begun.” The burning picks up in earnest as the soloing takes flight, and things slip into a sun gaze, giving off a late-day desert vibe. Morbid power rises, and the last gasps melt into the night. “Beautifully Dark” is a brief, yet fitting instrumental that is elegant and sunburnt, later letting the chill take over. It feels like staring into a late-afternoon winter sky, leaving you shivering as the band heads toward “Relive the Day” that immerses you into a downtrodden mood right away. “Our house of cards starts to fall, we all fall,” Brown notes as guitars hang in the air, and the shadows stretch. “Sail on alone, on and on alone, you will suffer,” Brown calls defiantly, challenging death, while the playing is somber and chilling as it bows its heads for the last time.
An Apostle of Solitude record definitely is not a great place to retreat if you need solace from the pain in the world and your own life, and if anything, records such as “Until the Darkness Goes” can compound your woes, making you face them. This brand of doom has spread its wings as of late, and its success is due to bands such as Apostle of Solitude building a solid foundation and continually applying steady blocks as time has gone on. This is another strong entry from a band that still does not get the credit and adulation they deserve.
For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/apostleofsolitude
For more on the label, go here: https://www.cruzdelsurmusic.com/store/