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Apollyon Sun - God Leaves - 90%

Avestriel, January 18th, 2011

Making up some of the years Tom G. Warrior let go by between Celtic Frost's Vanity/Nemesis and Monotheist, Apollyon Sun appears to most as just an offshoot, a short lived and ill fated side project. Had this particular brand of Fischer Trademark sound lasted just a couple of albums longer, I believe this notion would be in the minority. And speaking of Monotheist, after that album was released there was little doubt that Mr. Fischer had some love for industrial metal. I mean, some of the more groovy moments of the album (and Triptycon's Eparistera Daimones for that matter) are not a far cry from Godflesh's heaviest moments. But it's here, obviously, where the industrial aspect reaches its zenith, and where the sludgy moods that would later make up the bulk of the previously mentioned albums would first rear its head.

What we have here, basically, is what would happened if we were to mix Vanity/Nemesis with a very electronic, experimental industrial metal album, namely Godflesh's Us And Them. In this particular case the musical spectrum leans slightly more towards the Godflesh side, although every chuggy and monochromatic guitar riff has the latter Celtic Frost trademark all over it.

Still, the similarities with Us And Them and, on the more electronic, almost trance-ish side of things, Aborym's early works are considerable. It is only when you notice this album came out in 1998 and both Us And Them and Aborym's debut came out in 1999 that you begin to appreciate Apollyon Sun's efforts. Along the ones already mentioned, one can draw parallels between the more electronic-friendly moments of this release and some old madchester/baggy bands, namely Primal Scream circa Screamadelica (1991), with strong jungle moments and sample-happy drumming/sound clips. At times, one could almost describe this as a heavier (in the traditional sense of the word) Rammstein circa Sehnsucht (1997). In fact, seeing as there's only one year apart from each other, it wouldn't surprise me to learn Rammstein acted as an influence, even if it were to be a very distant one.

Now, on to the particulars of the music itself. The vocals, for starters, are very unique in Mr. Fischer's history. They're not as deep as raspy as they would get to be in Monotheist, yet they dwell almost entirely on the lower register, going from a raspy black metal grow to a low, drunken and throaty voice during the spoken parts, and everything in between. Quite interesting when you're used to early Celtic Frost's "URGH!" and latter CF/Triptycon's undead, inhuman and ghastly voice/raspy growls.

The guitars, I do admit, are quite subdued, but they're there and not to be under appreciated. They're not present throughout the album even though all tracks are certainly metal and therefore guitar-centered, but they do have a strong presence and a distinctive air to them. As mentioned, they have the Fischer trademark all over them, so the strongly familiar sounds of chuggy, heavy dissonance and paradoxically aggressive sludginess will bring a smile to anyone who enjoyed the more groovy/doom oriented moments of Fischer's trajectory.

I realise Marky Edelmann of Coroner fame is behind the drum set, yet the drumming is probably the weakest element of the whole album, consisting of very simple mid paced patterns alternated with sampled/machine drumming which make up the base of the faster, jungle-ish moments. The actual human drumming is not as heavy as it should be, both in sound and execution, which steals some weight and momentum from the other instruments, mainly the guitars. It kinda takes away some damp, obscure element of ambiance from which the record could have benefited greatly. Not that it ruins the album, they work perfectly fine as they are, but they're a big let down nonetheless.

Bass would be a completely unimportant (damn near non existent) element were it not for its crunchy distorted sound which adds an extra (and much needed) layer of heaviness to the guitar tone, complementing it and extending it downwards with every spring-like note. That's yet another element which reminds me strongly of Godflesh.

So yes, this short lived "side project" has a lot going on for itself, further proof that, except for Cold Lake (I prefer to blame that one on everyone else, myself), everything Tom Fischer touches becomes gold. If you're looking for some interesting industrial metal, and metal in general, this should be your #1 choice. Truly this is a lost gem of the genre. It has enough heaviness and Fischer riffage to sit proudly next to Monotheist on any metaller's collection, and enough originality and excitement to count as an important and unique release in such a stale genre as industrial metal (or industrial music, for that matter). If you even remotely like industrial and/or Fischer's brainchilds, you must give this a try at least once.