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Apocalyptic Fear – Decayed Existence & Dawn Of The Ritual Award winner

Apocalyptic Fear
Decayed Existence & Dawn Of The Ritual
by Eric Moxon at 29 January 2021, 11:22 PM

WARNING: Do not try to dance to this record – You might break your fuckin’ legs

APOCALYPTIC FEAR
, finally releasing a compilation of their 2 demos, "Decayed Existence" (1992) + "Dawn Of The Ritual" (1994) for the first time in 26 years. This isn’t “thinking man’s Death Metal”, this is a belligerent, knuckle-dragging excuse for dirty Quebexican, old-school Death Thrash. Truly a caterwauling conglomerate of intellectual constipation. As though OBITUARY got into a fight with MASTER, while MORBID SAINT was filming the fight for the boys in BOLT THROWER to talk shit about later.

"Dawn Of The Ritual" is the spooky intro to set the tone. In traditional cheesy badass lyrical themes of Death, Hate and Darkness; Jean-Francois Houle recites his litany of brooding misanthropy, flowing through vocal chords tempered by years of Labatt 50 and poutine abuse. Pummeling blast beats ensue afterwards, during the track "Mutilated by Sickness". The song charges along, before erupting into squealing pinch harmonics, followed by filthy Thrashing Death Metal. The vocals are belched atonal and savagely. I can only imagine this band opening up for the likes of OBLIVEON in Montreal back in the day and causing an instant chain reaction of moshing right from the get go.

It only grows heavier from then on out. "Dying Age" begins with the same belligerent charging chaos, yet throws in some very rhythmic, instrumental bridges that smack you in the face with a wall of chugging chunky doom.

The riffing in "The Execution" is hard not to bang your head to. Full of Thrashing triplet down picking and hammer on/pull-offs; it reminds me of bands like CANCER and MORBID SAINT. The long, tortured shriek that takes place at 2:04 right before the tempo change is quite gnarly. That style of vocal is pretty iconic to the early 90’s Death/Thrash sound. Gotta hand it to Steeve Daigle and Jean- Francois Houle for those dueling guitar solos. Jean used to play in an Egyptian themed Thrash band called KHEPHREN and really knows how to shred.

Some Prog elements almost akin to VOIVOD took me a bit off guard during "Mental Delirium". Opening with some sexy acoustic arpeggios that explode into ripping guitar solos and rather technical proggy riffs. Alternating between that and the typical Thrashing Death Metal, it definitely keeps you listening to the end. A brief rest in the music as the vocalist screams “THERE IS NO ESCAPE!” almost demands a circle mosh. Clocking in at 5:28, it’s the second longest track on the album.

One of the coolest songs on the album is "Psychic Death". This one is just plain dirty. The solos absolutely rip full of tapping and pinch harmonics with a slight tinge of Psychedelia, it really opens the song with a bang. A lot of variation between Death Metal and Crossover Thrash here.

The last track I’d like to talk about is "Vampire’s Island". Clocking in a 7:22, it’s the longest track on the album and probably my favorite. It’s got quite an eerie vibe with creepy dissonant acoustic passages throughout. Drumming circulates between blasts and inverse skanks with some dirty fills thrown here and there; they continuously change time signatures while the guitars lay an onslaught of riffs. About halfway through the track a devastating, high pitched shriek erupts and lasts 15+ second. Dueling guitar solos give way to a rollicking finale. I find a lot of bands who write long songs don’t know how to end their songs properly, but this ends sharp and abrasively in just the way I would hope.

It really is a shame this band broke up, but at least we got this compilation. Definitely check it out if you dig that old school sound.

Songwriting: 8
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 9
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Dawn of the Ritual
2. Mutilated by Sickness
3. Dying Age
4. The Execution
5. Mental Delirium
6. Drive Us to Hate
7. Psychic Death
8. Dimension of Emptiness
9. Intoxicated
10. Vampire's Island
Lineup:
Sébastien Bussiéres – Drums
Steeve Daigle – Guitar/vocals (backing)
Jean-Francois Houle – Guitar/vocals (lead)
Richard Harvey – Bass
Record Label: Awakening Records
     


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Edited 17 September 2021
 

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