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Harnessing the Tom G. Warrior Ugh - 81%

TheStormIRide, March 9th, 2016

No one seems to do Hellhammer worship better than the veteran Brazilian scene in Rio de Janeiro. Actually, when it comes to any type of proto black metal worship, be it Venom worship, Motö-rocking or, in this case, adherence to the Tom G. Warrior school, there aren't many bands outside of that scene that bring such an authentic and nostalgic take on the style. At the forefront of the sweltering scene in the wild lands is Apokalyptic Raids, a group formed by Necromaniac (Leon Manssur) back in 1998. While it's been quite sometime since the band's last full length album was released, 2010's Vol. 4 – Phonocopia, they've kept busy, dropping a few splits along the way.

While fans are still patiently awaiting the next full length album, Hells Headbangers decided to reissue the band's third full length album on vinyl, the aptly titled The Third Storm, which was initially released in 2005 on Brazil's Dark Sun Records. While most people would just pass off Apokalyptic Raids as a Hellhammer/Celtic Frost worshiping band, and leave it at that, the band does bring their own take on the classic sound. Necromaniac and crew weave their own sordid web of blackened, deathened, thrashing metal that reverently adheres to the ways of old, rather than blatant copying. The band's first two albums, Only Death Is Real and The Return of Satanic Rites offered a sound that was surely vested in the aggressive, take no prisoners style of Hellhammer, but The Third Storm saw them branching out, offering slabs of doomy dredging and an increased versatility not found on the earlier work nestled amongst the pummeling assault.

To those unfamiliar with their sound, Apokalyptic Raids offers frenetic double kick percussion, bordering on d-beat at times, coupled with primitive, rumbling guitar riffs and Necromaniac's gruff and squalid shouts. It's a simplistic formula, yet the morbid aggression is enthralling. The band's sound lies in the gray area between black metal, thrash and death metal; basically existing as a rabid amalgamation of all things heavy. The production is much stronger than the band's early material, allowing the listener to focus on the sweltering rhythms.

Throwback metal has certainly been making a comeback these past few years. While a lot of the current focus is on re-thrash and retro traditional heavy metal, those who worship at the throne of the first wave have been, and are, lurking in the underground. The Third Storm shows Apokalyptic Raids as one of the most competent of the bunch, retaining a style all their own while reverently adhering to the ways of old.

Written for The Metal Observer.

Relearning: Hammering it to hell in different ways - 68%

Byrgan, August 31st, 2008

By now, it would be pretty redundant to mention "Hellhammer" in an Apokalyptic Raids' review since the two previous write-ups of mine mentioned this with pronounced clarity. Although, the band keeps on nonchalantly reminding me to type this 10 letter repetition with casual ease. However, there are some differences here. For starters, the first song is split with an early '80's Venom-ish sounding track with the title "I'm a Metal Head." Eventually the first portion of the song parts and then the short two-minute-something tracker of H.H.'s "Revelations of Doom" plays to open up the rest of the album.

The production on the "The Third Storm - World War III" sounds louder and more properly mixed compared to the previous albums. It's as if you took the prior instruments and sanded some of the unsmooth edges down to pose a more credible craft. Though the bass drum sounds distracting at points, like a cross between a small bouncing ball, a finger pop in the mouth and a suction cup. The guitar tone is more pronounced sounding, like a loud but still rough guitar presence. Hellpreacher joins in on bass for this release, and it appears like the past distorted tone Sub Umbra used isn't imitated here. It's hard to tell if he either uses a mild-distortion or blended clean bass since it's mixed incognito.

This release has areas where they branch out into other metal lingerings: sometimes subtly, sometimes more obvious. Necromaniac uses a few more techniques compared to his set, medium, past growlings. There is a clean spoken segment on "When the World Ends in Fire" while the music plays a slow and building piece. There is also a cool sounding, though short full-choir section towards the end of the track as well. Occasionally he uses an altered growl that's not exactly a straight on sing but leaning more towards hoarse in execution. Although, the song "Vision Shadows" becomes awkward as it has a partially clear, almost shouted chorus mixed with his regular growls, where he says (with emphasis on the "now" part), "The war for the future is now." It entirely takes away any sinister atmosphere they were continually achieving in that song. The guitar tone changed from buzzy and trebly to a louder and distortion plain sound. The past techniques are repeated here, as well as some new ones. The song "Mankind Defeated" (second half of "Mankind Dies") has a mostly slower and doomier pace, along with a number of harmonics used as a fill. This also has the vocalist using a monk-like bellowing, as if visually he's kneeling as melancholic as a graveyard statue.

Looking at the debut album, which has songs that date themselves apparently with a "First Version" before even the demo in '99; the debut carries 6 of these demo songs out of 10; the second full length has 3 out of 9; and this has two repeated, with two re-dos from the debut. So, what can be said about a band that on the past two albums held Hellhammer releases as if they were their own and probably tucked them under their pillows at night? Then on this, still kept their releases safe by but with a few steps and breaths of their own? Well, the crutch is used less and walking without it is hard and often comes with relearning from a few wobbling spills. A.R. is treading along with different lyrical expressions as well. This release is where the cavemen started to learn to write sentences on the walls with songs titles like "Fallen Beyond Hope," "Never Forget What You Are" and "The Power in My Mind." Which are taking a different route than in the past with mostly blunt and evil themes.

From a listener of their first two albums, this release attempts to re-tread old pathways but some areas are not always translated with the same ounce of vicious undertaking. And a few of the choruses sound out of place as well. Although, there are a few change-ups that are worthwhile, such as displaying doomier sections in some areas. Also, the melancholic vocals on "Mankind Defeated" sounded fitting and should be repeated more. Another varying track, "Manifesto Politicamente Incorreto," sounds like a forefronting hardcore/crust remembrance as it displays an all-quick and short song, accompanied with fast and slurred vocals and guitars strumming out three-chord furies. That's the only track that does that, notice the switch of language compared to the rest too.

"The Third Storm" is in a way a compilation-esque release; as if it was noticeably pieced together like a collage. So, simply some areas do indeed stand out, while others don't. "Mankind Defeated" and "When the World Ends in Fire" happen to be their best songs, not only on this album, but I'd be willing to wager them against other songs on the prior albums as well. It can come together, but shows a variety of what Apokalyptic Raids' influences are compared to the last two releases; which were more aggressively centered, though with this having just an edge and not as steadily blunt or high with energy in comparison. Along with their main influence, it picks up emotions from a spread of genres and periods: some working, some unfortunately not entirely suited to them or the collective flow of the album.