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Apocalypse Orchestra - The End Is Nigh Award winner

Apocalypse Orchestra
The End Is Nigh
by Chen May at 01 October 2017, 10:57 PM

Imagine a band that bridges the gap between the mysteries of times long forgotten and the modern age - this is the atmosphere that APOCALYPSE ORCHESTRA aims to recreate, albeit with a modern and “metallized” twist. The mesmerizing sounds of traditional European instruments such as the hurdy-gurdy, bagpipe, mandola and cittern merge seamlessly with the hard-hitting drum beats and bass, not forgetting the somber guitar riffs and solemn vocals. Though the music is nothing close to apocalyptic, it does exude a substantial amount of heaviness and darkness in its lyrical content whilst simultaneously embodying the charm of Folk music.

“The Garden of Earthly Delights” makes for a sturdy opener. The sounds of bagpipes fill the air as the riffs and drum beats kick in, blending harmonies from the past and the present, and not long after, Erik’s voice comes into the picture; his rich, sonorous vocals lending gravitas to a dark, gothic soundscape. The drumming is down-tempo and heavy, and the bagpipes carry the grandeur of the song really well. The eerie sound of the hurdy-gurdy marks the opening of “Pyre”, followed by an intense passage of riffs and bass lines. Here, Erik introduces his mixture of growls and clean singing to a crestfallen yet vengeful track, bringing all sorts of emotions that range from anguish to sadness, hence perfectly capturing the lyrical essence of this tune. In other words, “Pyre” is nothing short of a depressive musical masterpiece.

Brooding and melancholic, “Flagellants’ Song” sets the morose ambience with a choral chant of “Pie Jesu”. The hurdy-gurdy’s sound wafts wistfully through the air, as the chorus is executed with a thoughtful yet downcast flair. The similarly gloomy yet atmospheric “Exhale” begins with hollow percussions and an organ solo, which soon segue into a rather calming chorus. The soothing guitar strums make way for the beginning of “Theatre of War”. The chorus has a particularly ethereal effect with Erik’s lead vocals complementing the backing choir seamlessly. The hurdy-gurdy solo in this track is mournful and perfectly captures the grimness and horrors of war.

A solemn tune indeed, “The Great Mortality” illustrates the aftermath of the Black Plague. Death, darkness and despair are the major themes within this track. The highlight of this song is the extensive use of the hurdy-gurdy. Solos performed on this instrument can be heard at the opening and at the ending of this track, which further enhances the medieval ambience of this song. The steady percussions that serve as the backdrop for the soothing instrumental track “To Embark” and the hurdy-gurdy solo indeed manage to enchant and bring one back to times long gone. The final and longest track on the album, “Here Be Monsters” is full of dynamic chord changes and shifts in tone. The repetitive chants of “Here be monsters” has a strangely hypnotizing effect, and for a song that tells tales of horror and monstrosities, the use of growls here certainly not an unsuitable choice.

“The End Is Nigh” is certainly an outstanding debut effort by APOCALYPSE ORCHESTRA. The combination of medieval and modern instruments culminates into a uniquely somber listening experience. Another thing that makes this band stand out from other similar bands is the minimal use of growls. Where most Folk Metal bands employ guttural vocals to a large extent, APOCALYPSE ORCHESTRA has Erik largely focusing on his clean vocals and using growls sparingly. This is a plus factor for those who prefer a much more tranquil and non-aggressive approach towards Folk Metal. Therefore, “The End Is Nigh” should not be missed by every metal fan!

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

  1. The Garden of Earthly Delights
  2. Pyre
  3. Flagellants' Song
  4. Exhale
  5. Theatre of War
  6. The Great Mortality
  7. To Embark
  8. Here Be Monsters
Jonas Lindh – Guitars/Mandola/Backing Vocals
Rikard Jansson – Bass/Mandola/Backing Vocals
Andreas Skoglund – Drums and Percussion/Backing Vocals
Mikael Lindström – Hurdy gurdy/Bagpipes/Rauschpfeife/Backing Vocals
Erik Larsson – Guitars/Mandola/Cittern/Lead Vocals
Record Label: Despotz Records


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