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You might say that I either heard a different demo than the rest of the reviewers here, or that my taste differs, or that it just has to do with the way I rate releases I review, for to drop anywhere below 20%, something has to literally offend me just by its very existence on the music market. This, however, doesn't. In fact, I'm having trouble figuring out what in the world is all that special about this, which of course is a feeling mostly negative towards the music, but positive compared to all the outrage it created among other reviewers here.
First of all, I find the terrible quality of these recordings vastly overexaggerated. Sure, Peter Tägtgren most certainly didn't produce this one, but instead of the white noise described by various people here I can make out the music relatively fine, and hell, I have heard so much so far worse. This is a Black Metal demo, an early one in the carreer of the "artist" none the less, and poor sound quality is something that can happen, but with a little practice most "production" mishaps can be dug through, without even any need for headphones. The compositions themselves truly are bad, I won't dispute that fact, but they are nowhere near outragously horrible. Uninspired and overly generic, yes, lifelessly plodding along without any real point indeed, but given the choice between Apocalypse and many Metalcore mishaps, or that cheesy keyboard-soaked, hyper-melodic Finnish-Campfire-Pagan-Metal that's so popular these days, I'd rather choose to listen to Apocalypse to be honest. It may be bad, but at least it doesn't violently roll up my toenails. And yes, the vocals might be sickeningly horrible, but again, when put in perspective, in the context of being one very early demo, and when compared to what some "artists" put on label-sold full-legnth and try to sell as "intense" (Landfermann or Nattramn, anyone?), I'd rather have a completely failing but at least honest performance by a youngling who simply lacks any practice whatsoever.
No, this is seriously bad, but bad in a generic sense, and nothing special or outrageous to justify an excessively negative score, no, I'd rather give this the benefit of the doubt and stick to a more realistic rating.
So... I downloaded the album from the artist's webpage, after having read reviews and heard people speak about it. My expectations were low, but not even they were fulfilled. This is bad music, defined. Here are some impressions from the songs...
Track #1: not good. The melodies do not sound as if they are thought through at all, let alone written down. Completely random and quite often off-key and/or off-beat.
Track #2: it's 2004. It is almost more difficult to make something sound as bad as this, than to make it sound at least decent, not to mention good. This whole "bad sound"-thing was nice when it came, if it even was by then. Why the high-hat and no other drums?
Track #3: with a soundquality of this low level, it's hard to tell if the guitar is even tuned or not. It doesn't sound so. The vocals are just plain bad. No power in the voice, no melody, no aggression - nothing. Where is the bass-line and the drumming? The guitarwork is quite awful.
Track #4: the high-hat is back. Rejoice. What we have here is just bad. Boring riffs and chordlines on the guitar, weak and quite silly voice accompanied by a high-hat. At 03:22, a slightly better voice kicks in. But it doesn't higher the score in anyway.
So, what can I say in conclusion? Well, 128kbit, 22kHz, mono isn't what people want these days. Quite frankly, it never was, not even in the "old days". This is just bad. Very bad.
I recommend this to all blackmetalers, as this is a good definition of how to not sound.
Wow, it's really true what they say: this record completely stinks. Rejoice! It seems there's finally a record we can all be unanimous on.
I downloaded it to see if I would like it, as sometimes I get the idea I'm way too soft, appreciating a far too wide range of music. Thankfully, I can in all honesty say I think this stinks.
Listening to 'this', I get the idea what the 'person' behind it was trying to achieve. He must've listened to Burzum and thought: 'Hey, Burzum is relatively simple music. I just need to play something simplistic, and then let spontaneity take over.
The result is 4 tracks with 3 note riffs, where the only deviation is produced by the author's sloppyness. I've heard people in praise of sloppyness, where it allows the listener to hear different elements in the music each time they listen to it. Here however, it only comes across as not knowing how to play. Seriously, no sense of rythm, no sense of melody. It's as if someone has just picked up a guitar, and being proud he can play 3 notes, goes make a record. What is up with that? I know Darkthrone likes to keep it simple as well..but their music at least has structure beyond 'Hey I'm going to play these 3 notes over and over, and the music is in where my fingers slip and fuck up the timing!'.
The intro is telling: 2 alternated very low notes, and then an ear-hurting high peep. The peep is supposed to have a form of melody I think, but you can imagine the person who created this turd thinking out loud: 'Uhh..what I do now?'. No direction whatsoever. And then the next 3 near-identical tracks..gods..
No bass whatsoever. No vocals whatsover. No drums whatsoever. Oh sure, you can pretend that kid squealing into the mike as if he's evil is performing vocals. And that rickety sound in the background? Perhaps those are supposed to be drums. They sure don't sound like it. More like an electro motor powering a drumstick across a rusty tin can, only the battery is almost dead, so it's completely random (and in the background masked by the crap sound and the annoying guitars). Sometimes the ticking is fast, sometimes there's nothing at all. One note to the 'creator' (the word creator doesn't seem to be a fitting word at all, eh?): randomizing your drums doesn't mean you're an artist. On Rakoth's Tiny Deaths, the semi-randomized drum patterns added to the music. Abruptum, by defying every musical convention made 'anti-music', and created something lasting. You're just being random and amateurish.
I don't care if I hurt someone's feelings by this if he reads this. There's a time to be nice, and there's a time to make someone painfully clear he's polluting a genre. Well, if someone would be willing to incorporate this aural turd into a categorization of music that is.
And please, what's up with calling yourself 'The True Apocalypse'? WTF? First you take one of the corniest names on the planet, knowing that it's already been taken by zillions of bands amongst which countrymembers with a lot more skill (yeah I know that's being redundant), but then you have the audacity to annex it? While you can't even produce something that's worth downloading for free? Ugh.
Well, SoD's little one man band has done something a lot of very famous, very crucially important metal acts have yet to manage on this site. It seems to me that most of my fellow reviewers of this record are amongst the Metal Archives's most prolific reviewers, and I would assume the average Joe would find their opinion worth more than some of the less active writers.
Alas, this is a double-edged sword and the edge is swinging in entirely the wrong direction. Simply put, as your powers of observation may have informed you, nobody much likes this little record. In point of fact, they seem to hate it more than any other record I've come across in all my wanderings on this archive. People like giving out bad reviews, and I can virtually see the vultures circling in the skies waiting to tear the heart out of not only a band, but one of their fellow users. They say the vocals are terrible... they are, actually. They say the riffs are boring... well, some of 'em for sure. They mention this and all sorts of other stuff, but let's be frank here, you and I. This is a DEMO. If this were the long-lost original rehearsal tape of Mayhem or Bathory some people would be outright worshipping this thing, regardless of whether or not it's good. Although of course, it isn't.
I've heard the songs described as static, which is not precisely true. They are generally boring black metal riffs played into a cheap recorder, but that's hardly novel. In point of fact, the only REALLY horrible song on this thing is "Prophecy". That song is flat-out awful for a number of reasons, most specifically the fact that the riff sucks and it's played in such a way that it actually does cause a headache. "Thy Chains" features a nearly decent fast riff that wouldn't be out of place on a more professional sounding album, and "Before the Light" ain't awful. In fact, it could very well be a good song with better vocals, production, and a solo (and a better performed break).
This is like abrasive doom metal to my bruised ears, and it sounds like it was recorded from the bottom of a well so that should please the kvlt in all of us. In places it literally sounds like you're just walking by a guy practicing which it probably is. I think the 'band' should have either waited until they had an opportunity to record at a better facility or with better equipment, and for God's sake get a new singer, and a drummer. It's odd, the drums only show up in the ride out of like one track.
So yeah, I wouldn't bother with this if I were you. It does indeed suck, because it's a demo featuring some guy playing all by himself, and this is a guy who cannot sing no matter how you would define singing. It may be that future projects will turn out better (he's looking for a drummer), but here's my advice. Work on your chops, get some like-minded crazies and don't release anything else until you have that down. Not everybody can be Kevin Moore (ChromaKey) or Dru (By Dawn Cursed) you know.
Stand-Outs: "Before the Light"
EDIT: Yeah, I just listened to this thing without headphones, and while I stand by my initial review when you play this thing without headphones it is pretty much white noise. Like, I couldn't hear anything but fuzz with little pops and crackles I took to be the guitars. So I have to mark this down a little bit.
“So I got my new cassette player with a recording function, wow, I’m gonna record a black metal album! Of course nobody cares you can hear me pushing this record button off and on and of course it doesn’t matter that I am not musically inclined at all. I want to be just as minimalistic and nihilistic as let’s say Burzum, Xasthur or Abyssic Hate with one big difference: I got no talents whatsoever.”
Ok enough joking and stuff, I’ve tried to review each song and each of them turned out to be crappy as hell. This is giving black metal a bad name, I can appreciate a joke but this is serious and it seriously sucks ass.
Crimon River – This is supposed to be an ambient keyboard thing. It’s just this guy pressing like 3 keys of his keyboard and he manages to fuck this up even
Prophecy – bad riff again and vocals outta tune, blah what is there left to say about this “one man project”?
Thy Chains Hold Thee – crappy vocals, the guitars are way in the background, are there any drums?
Before The Light – a little bit better, at least you can hear the guitars and the vocals, the whole thing’s recorded at a way too low volume tho and the track is overall just very boring and the vocals are horrible as ever. Change of “riff” halfway the song but ehm well I don’t know much about guitar playing but I feel that even I could do that better.
Conclusion: I don’t say this too often about a piece of art because most of the times the artist has put some time and effort in it but this really, really sucks. It has a bad production (recorded in his bedroom), no musical talent whatsoever and most of all horrible vocals. I think it’s good this guy didn’t try to sell his crap but gives it away for free thru downloads, that’s why he gets 1 point of me.
This is what I like to call a worthless release. I didn’t think it was possible, but this “band” is actually worse than Cock and Ball Torture. Cock and Ball Torture sit in their basement and hit instruments together as a retard gurgles cum while attempting to sing. Apocalypse is on the other side of the spectrum.
The “instruments” are played so minimally that the most and only apparent sound you could hear is the static caused by the shitty production. The vocalist sounds like Gollum from the Lord of the Rings, as he attempts to make some kind of musical sound, except it comes out as a terrible attempt at trying to sound like an evil Black Metal vocalist. I was told that this was a hilarious release, but I fail to see the humor in this, as this is not intended to be a joke band, or so I am led to believe. All of the tracks are equally worthless; as they are so low that it’s impossible to here anything besides the beyond dreadful “vocals.”
The first track “Crimson River,” is a bad attempt at ambient music. I predict Shadow0fDeath sat in his room with a Midi and randomly made something he thought was going to be an extraordinary ambient song, yet he missed it completely.
The second track “Prophecy,” is static, nothing else. Not even CBT static, just minimal static that you could hear your computer making, if you leave it on during the night. There is nothing more to be said about this track, or the other tracks as they are the same minimal static over and over again.
I actually attempted to listen to this “album” twice, just to see if I missed anything that could be a redeeming factor in this horrendous release. While I was listening to this for the second time, my roommate started vacuuming, so I turned this piece of shit off and listened to the vacuum at full volume while erasing this crap from my computer.
What we have here is what sounds like someone who just discovered musical instruments for the first time in his entire life, then heard a black metal album, and decided that he wanted to sound exactly like it, so he got himself intoxicated beyond what he'd ever been before, picked up those instruments, not even knowing how the hell they're used, and played them, to see what would happen.
What resulted from this experiment is Upon the Crimson River, the epitome of how NOT to do a black metal recording. Hell, the epitome of how not to do a recording resembling anything close to music, period. There is abosultely no sense of structure or rhythm to be found within this release, or anything remotely resembling a well-conceived musical statement or idea.
The opening track, "Crimson Rivers" consists of two alternating keyboard notes with totally random, annoyingly high-pitched notes being played at totally random times, and closing off with those two notes being played at gradually increasing speed until they practically blend together, probably done to increase "dramatic" effect, but ends up sounding childish.
The black metal songs (or what originally were intended to be black metal songs) are no better, if not worse, than that nifty little keyboard number. The guitar is completely haphazard, having trouble steadily keeping up playing a few simple riffs, and soon ends up playing whatever his fret hand can grab ahold of. This is backed up by what sounds like a poorly programmed drum machine, vocals that often resemble a dehydrated Gollum, and production values that are above white noise but below everything else.
Normally for a crappy album I'd say to avoid it, but I really believe everyone should listen to this for the reason that I stated in my second paragraph. I seriously think one can improve their musical ability after hearing this mess, and this gets one point for that reason alone.
Are you a fan of valueless music? Then this is the CD for you! I don't quite know my reasons for downloading the songs contained on this demo, but I do know that the time it took me to listen to them was poorly wasted. This one man band certainly has a shortage of talent. What we have here is a young hopeful attempting to make some black metal. He fails miserably at making anything good, and I hesitate to call it either black metal, or ambient music.
The song 'Prophecy' starts out with an overly simplistic boring 3 note riff, which unfortunately is the backbone of this entire song. The production is weak, very weak. Weak, as in it sounds as if the person chose to use a fisher price tape recorder. Weak, as in what the hell was this guy thinking? There seems to be some sort of a mechanical sound in the background of the song. Im not sure if it is the actual sound of the tape moving inside it's cheap recorder, or if it was an attempt to put drums into the song, but whatever it is, it is lame. When the vocalist comes in, it almost seems as if hes whispering. It sounds like hes an 11 year old kid, with way too much breathing in his vocals. It's shamefull, laughable, and pathetic. At some point he lets out an agonizing scream, which doesn't actually fit in with has the music is attempting to do, since his scream is off key. All right, nothing more to say about that piss poor song, onto another one...
'Crimson River'. Ohh, this song starts with some 'eerie' keyboards. There are some high pitched notes (many of which are out of key) played ontop of a loop that plays the same 2 notes over and over. What was this guy thinking making such a extremely bad instrumental?
'Before the Light' has another simplistic to the point of moronic-like riff, with more vaugley audible, dull vocals. I think there might also be some form of drumming in this song...I can't be sure though. Oh shit! What was that?!? At 1:26 comes the most interesting part of the song. It's some form of static. Or was it? Maybe it was someone dropping something...or closing a door! It was probably just the tape making noise, but damn, that was the most interesting thing I've heard from this demo yet! Around the 2 minute mark, we are treated with a riff change of some sort. The thing is that this guy doesn't know what he wants to play next, he makes a few mistakes, sloppily attempting to play his guitar, and then he must have just given up on his original idea, as he switches into a tiresome 3 note 'riff'. Another thing that I suppose could be worth mentioning about this song is, well nothing. This song was shit.
The last song to listen to is titled 'Thy Chains Hold Thee.' It's more of what you could expect from this guy after reading my review thus far. The only difference is that for this song there is no sign of drumming, or tape recorder movement if that's actually what it is. We get a 3 note stop type riff played a few times, and the guy even makes a mistake playing it. This asinine song plods on and then fades out, thus my review is nearing it's end.
Avoid this. Do not waste your time listening to it. It was a waste of my unlimited bandwidth to even download it. The guy has a guitar, so what? He shouldn't be making music, not if this is the result. The Apocalypse website is shit too. One thing I wanted to mention is that the website has a logo that was likely just done with some font, while the Encyclopaedia Metallum has one that looks like it was made using MSPaint. Perhaps this is a joke band? I hope so, but if it is I'm not laughing.