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Mediocre USBM - 66%

PutridWind, October 17th, 2007

Winter of Apokalypse is a band from Oregon, US. They play straight forward Black Metal and have a relatively good standing in todays USBM scene often mentioned in relation to Xasthur and Leviathan. I have had the mp3s for a while and recently bought the album hoping it would spark new interest.

The Line-Up
Slut - Bass
Armageddon - Drums
Fascist - Guitar
Alkoholik - Bass
Hell - Vocals

(Already one asks, are these guys serious, what's up with the names?)

The Production
Fairly well produced, very clear and distinct instruments. Drums are miked very well and sound very unlike most black metal drums that have a barely audible bass drum and a snare that sounds like the snare is either off or the head is really tightly wound. These drums sounds more like normal metal drums, very clear and easy to follow. Guitars are very trebly often giving off the very squeaky tremelo picking sound when up in the high end. The high end sounds okay and so does the low, but once again, it's not really what one looks for when names like Xasthur are dropped with this band. I mean the guitars are there but they don't create a wall of sound or any real atmosphere, and since the band has no keyboards the production really hurts here. Bass is pretty audible, but it depends on ones equalization on your music player. Vocals are pretty much in the middle of the mix and are very "dragging". It sounds like Hell is doing a half-assed job of screaming/growling since you get more of the idea that he is drunk or only semi-interested in doing the vocals well. No bone chilling screams or low growls here.

The Music
The cd itself is rather short, clocking in at only 35 minutes. There are eight songs. The main problem with the music is this is mediocre at best. Everyone sounds like they are getting the idea of what a really good band sounds like and are trying to emulate that but not successfully. The band does not really play the "depressive" style, nor a symphonic or orchestral style, it's just basic minor riffs with good drumming and slow droning vocals. I don't get the hype, this is like a band that does nothing new, they sound like every other band in Black Metal that does nothing to stand out. They don't have very raw sound, not a powerful sound, not a depressive sound, not a symphonic sound. All they have is that normal sound perfected by Darkthrone. The only song that shows the potential of the band is the intro track, which with it's almost catchy triplet riff, captures the unique elements of the band. By the time you reach the end you're not sure where one song started and the other ended, it kind of just happens, not demanding attention and asking for indifference. If you're a fan of USBM trying to find another band that fits nicely into that normal black metal frame seek no further. If you're looking for originality keep looking. These guys don't offer anything new, but are pretty solid at what they do.

Pros:
Track 1 - Dark Sinistral Path
Nothing is horrible wrong, everything fits and flows

Cons:
Half assed vocals
Repetitive songs

Okay but not great - 70%

namelessheretic, January 13th, 2006

There are those out there that worship and/or admire black metal so much that they just want to be a part of it. They want to create something that gives the feeling to others what they feel when they listen to their favorite albums. This in itself is neither a good thing or a bad thing; it's what you do with your inspiration that matters.

What Winter of Apokalypse has done with their inspiration is try to combine the concept of taking proven black metal methods and giving their own spin on it without reinventing the wheel. This is a risky venture because many times this leads to basic imitation and nothing more, even if it is unintentional.

This album is ambitious in it's goal, but treads those dangerous waters of copy-cat syndrome. One gets the feeling that these guys are honest in their pursuit of creating a genuine artistic piece of acceptable black metal, but simply do not have it in them to make something that isn't a rehash of other band's material.

They seem to understand the black metal aesthetic very well, and have grasped the concept of what works and what has served others well. This is where the problem lies. One cannot re-create the magic of someone else's glory. One has to create their own magic and leave their own mark.

"Solitary Winter Night" has many elements that catch a listeners interest and may fool some at first. Melodies soar and carry songs in a way that only black metal songs can; drums pound in the fury only black metal can give; vocals are raspy and harsh in a way that only black metal can offer. Repeated listens though, show us that yes, Winter of Apokalypse understand black metal very well, to a point, then leaves us feeling that something is missing.

That "something" lies in the unseen heart of the material. It's all been done before: from the songs, to the lyrics, to the cover itself. True, this album is better than most lame imitators, but the identity they appear to represent is not theirs. As stated before, one cannot recreate the magic of the past; you must make your own magic and leave your own mark.

A brave attempt and a good try. I emphasis "good" here, because it's not great. And with the volume of releases being put on the market today, shouldn't we put our energies into what is great and not simply good?

Excellent Black Metal From The US - 95%

mereimage99, May 10th, 2005

I know what you are thinking, how could the US possibly contribute anything that could be compared to what comes out of the mother land of Black Metal, Norway. Well, I am happy to say that Winter of Apokalypse has delivered some hard, icy, cold, dark black metal for your ears to absorb. Very similar to the path taken lately by Darkthrone and Satyricon, but at the same time WoA delivers the atmosphere of the good old original black metal of the past.

A seven song CD that runs for a little over 35 minutes, this album is straight forward in its deliverance. Which is actually what I really like about the album and the reason that I can even dare to compare it to albums of Satyricon and Darkthrone. Some tracks are very cold and simple (similar to Transylvanian Hunger material) while others are filled with some very heavy, head-banging riffs. For instance, Black Metal of Death (my personal favorite) has a sweet riff about a minute into it that gets your head banging involuntarily.

Overall, this album is excellent even if they are a US BM band trying to revive something that could only come from the land of the North. I will definitely be looking out for another release soon, and if you are into old and new Darkthrone and Satyricon (as well as BM in general), you will definitely like this.