Apostle Of Solitude – From Gold To Ash (2018)

The Indiana based doom metallers fourth full-length album might just be their best yet. But not only that, it feels like missing link between doom and grunge rock, which I would never have realized prior to this album. Obviously, this an album where classic doom is a prime element going back to acts like Sabbath and Candlemass, but there’s just a touch more groove to Mike Naish’s bass riffs, which create a much chunkier bottom end and cause my head to bang in unison from the very first cut, “Overlord” which reminds of everything that I liked about The Sword. This opener is nothing more than a short instrumental, but it has a lot of potential which is further carried into the equal thump of “Ruination Be Thy Name.” I’m getting a sort of jam band feel to this, which changes quickly to a heftier Queens Of The Stone Age due to Chuck Brown’s vocal approach, who sounds a little bit like Josh Homme. We might despise Queens Of The Stone Age now, but Apostle Of Solitude haven’t done anything crazy yet to provoke the rock and heavy metal police battalions yet, so we can feel safe while we sit on our laurels and jam the act. A nice little acoustic called “Autumn Moon” seems to set the stage for the amp-fuzz gone ominous doom that is “Keeping The Lighthouse.” Chuck Brown and Steve Janisk play their guitars as well as they duet, which makes for a sense of harmony that pays off in spades. Both men have a more approachable set of pipes than myself, as my first ever singing attempt on one of our discs was completely deleted for sounding like a choir boy at a glam show. And I’m not even going to tell you what the deep “goth” vocal sounded like. So I’ll leave to men who can actually sing, like these gentlemen; to do so. I’ll continue to sound like Swamp Thing.

Getting back to the album, even though I will admit that it has more of a modern rock or grunge feel in the vocal approach I just mentioned, the song structure still centers wholly around doom. It’s slow, thick and heavy, like some of the people I see walking around the store. Oh, come on. Back in my day, that was humor! Though I digress. Basically, doom fans are getting exactly what they want as far as memorable harmonies, extremely deep swathes of bass lines, strong solo efforts and drawn out songs that actually manage to keep my attention due to the ear-candy of their frontman. Nothing bores me wore than a frontman who sounds like cardboard, and it’s good to see that there’s a brighter rendition utilized here than on several other funeral doom efforts. Not that those are bad. I’m just pleased to hear something that doesn’t sound quite like what I’ve already got on my shelves. Once again, I have to note just how modern this sounds, which some people might not understand; especially those who don’t like Pallbearer because they feel that (at least according to the reviews I skimmed) they “dumbed down” doom metal, or made it more accessible. Something that made me laugh my socks off, I’m sure. Anyway, Apostle Of Solitude now sound a little more similar to this style, but they still have that thick doom crunch and the right level of melancholy to stand as the future of this genre, a very old genre, and what some might say was the very first genre in the heavy metal pantheon. Certainly Black Sabbath’s self-debut would be enough evidence of that, although debatable. When I can put on a doom record and still be reminded of that particular debut, then I realize that a band are definitely still playing within the proper lines of doom and should still be considered such. If you’re not obsessed with labels, then you would do well to pick up a copy of this thick, melodic and solemn beast of a recording. You’ll find it at the thumping link below.

(7 Tracks, 43:00)

8/10

Purchase HERE (Bandcamp)

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