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The return of the underpaid prostitutes - 78%

Byrgan, August 24th, 2008

Apocalyptic Raids are back this time around with the altered name "Apokalyptic Raids." There's a lyrical excerpt from the first track boldly stating "hellhammering your face." With that none other than described as kind sentiment said to an extreme metal listener, you might feel better that the band didn't go astray with their Hellhammer worship. Adding witticisms and homage in their lyrics with no want or way of concealing it. More understandably, the years are still '83 and '84 and things are hardly a fading point.

The production is more mudded sounding compared to the last, where it has a filthy layer of smudge that's smeared with effects and rawness to an unhealthy degree. A.R. has no constraint to what's going on around them, venturing as far as their demented minds are willing to take them. Although, not as far as the "R" and certainly not before the "H." What does this little, black secret spell? Go Apokalyptic Raids! Like the ageless profession: prostitution. Specifically, a prostitute who is willing to go that extra measure and do what it takes to put that sweet evil into her aging, needle-punctured arm. She might be hardly paid and doesn't have an afterthought of shame. Having a guiltless living that could be considered part-hobby, part-addiction, and with no clear way to get out of the trance. A.R. is no exception, like inking that permanent tattoo that is not only for life, it is a life drive or expectancy.

From the first album to here, the guitar techniques have moments of being identical twins. And the vocals haven't strayed, though they lessened the effects, with reverb and delay still here but with the distortion effect seemingly gone, making them slightly less over-the-top. The drums have the '80s in its sights, but the bass drum has a strange, muffled, crackling noise. In comparison with his other drums it is an oddity and sounds less loud, than, say, his snare. Then again, it probably just comes down to how they microphoned them and was most likely done on purpose as a contrast to the guitars.

There are some faster and slower beats, but overall the musical pace mainly goes with tempos that are in the middle range of thrash, which seems like they were adding some more mid-'80's Celtic Frost influences as well. Just going up from the succession of demos to the next linking band. What's next, Coroner's "Death Cult" demo? The guitars, however, do show some variation from their past releases. For one, the solos are a little more frequent and sound more scaled and, of course, rockishly sleazy. His guitar tone appears like it uses the same equipment as the debut, though this time it is a little more on the side of trebly sounding, but not missing an ounce of meanness to back it up; like a spinning saw blade that's dangerously close and always at the next frightening turn.

The previous drummer Adrameleck left and Skullkrusher joins the band in place of and plays in a somewhat busybody style compared to the last. He batters you with constant double bass parts littered throughout the album as well as tom rolls to add some variation to the simplistic guitars. The band owed it so much to this new drummer that the 8th track is actually called "Skullkrusher." It takes a break with a minute and a half drum solo, then back to band-complete music afterwards. The vocalist still adds "ewwgh"s like he did on the first, having them appear typically at the beginning of a build up or change of riff to make the upcoming moment more disgusting than it might have been. There is a delayed effect at the end of most vocal lines where it repeats the last word in an echoey/faded projection that's ready for the next one. Also, Necromaniac started to use more varying tone with his vocal delivery, which are combined with tons of reverb and delay overtop of his medium growls. He has the kind of vocals that wouldn't sound right without these effects. They aren't as harsh as the first album, but I don't feel that they fell off the wagon either. Still riding as coachman, but with less of a feeling that the ride might kill you.

There is a hidden track with a surprise-surprise H.H. cover of "The Third of the Storms." It sounds updated as well as accurate to the point of retaining those massive string bends on the opening riff. When Samael covered this same track on an early release, they forgot this disgusting feature. Now, that's an insult to an insult if I ever heard one.

When stepping into wherever your listening quarters are and rudely filling those areas with the sound of Apokalyptic Raids, at this point don't expect much along the lines of astounding creativity or brilliant innovation. I'm sure they would tell you that there is a time and a place, but that might just be an excuse to further elaborate their obsession with the shadowy side of the '80s that was evil and raunchy and how they deem it fit (no one wants to remember the other embarrassing traits). This is a little less ferocious than the first, where that recording was a constant, unstoppable juggernaut. A few sections tend to get repetitious, even with similar structures to the debut as well, though in others due to a combination of the muddy production and the style they're delivering being the epitome of simplistic to the point of being atonal in areas; so watch out for the band wearing drab cavemen attire with authenticity.

"The Return" isn't a voice to mass audiences but rather has an exclusive following. Something that aims itself to speak at selective gatherings that are still stuffing themselves with metalheads every year. Like certain fanfare conventions ranging from Star Wars to Star Trek, comics to meeting comic book artists or from porn mags to pornstars. Whatever your selective fancy is, Apokalyptic Raids finds itself to ticket holders that don't want anything else but exactly what this band seems to muster up and also what they heavily stick to, as other groups, older ones included, might have ventured on to jolly good times and slicker avenues. And, according to my treacherous ears, it sounds like A.R. had a few bumps but still managed to maintain that target with their second release.