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Apochryphal Revelation – Primeval Devilish Wisdom

Apochryphal Revelation
Primeval Devilish Wisdom
by Andrew Graham at 10 December 2020, 7:47 AM

Self-described “black death” thrashers APOCHRYPHAL REVELATION storm into view with their second full-length album. Like a musical time machine, they straddle the noisy, low-fi formation period that birthed both death metal and black metal.

I have to confess that Lexington, Kentucky seems among the least likely places for a black/death metal band to form. And yet, here we are! A relatively small band, active since 2007, APOCHRYPHAL REVELATION have managed to power through the last decade nonetheless with a low-fi style that ought to evoke memories of the very early days of death and black metal. Think the kind of style found in SEPULTURA’S “Morbid Visions”, and even “Bestial Devastation” EP (or all of HELLHAMMER’S very brief career) and you have the idea!

I would begin by making very clear a major gripe I have about this album: it’s filled with… well… filler! There are fifteen tracks on this album but eight of them are various kinds of instrumental tracks played on organ, synth, or piano. The longest of these is 2:31, the shortest is 0:32. I therefore feel vindicated in feeling a little cheated in thinking this a full-length, when really there’s only actually seven proper songs here. Thus, I shall restrict myself to talking only about these.

After two introductory tracks, “Profane” properly initiates the auditory assault. The mix is rough as hell, almost into the ‘so-bad-it’s-good’ territory. It sort of reads like a compilation of all the hallmarks of very early 80’s proto-death and black metal. Two more interlude tracks follow until ‘track 2’ proper: “Constantine”. This track has almost a BOLT THROWER feel about it, I genuinely found myself thinking about their “Realm of Chaos” album whilst listening to this track. Unfortunately, it feels more like a pale imitation than something that stands up in its own right. Another ambient track follows, then we get “Obscure”, which features some of the more competent drumming and riffage on display, a real high point!

After yet another filler track, we have “Burning” which has almost a grindcore feel to it. I don’t know if it was intentional, but we seem to have a kind of compilation of 80s styles: early black metal, early death metal, thrash, grindcore – it’s all here! One more interlude follows then we get three actual songs in a row (miracle of miracles!) “Blasphemous” again evokes that developmental phase characterised by HELLHAMMER and CELTIC FROST. “Invocation” opens with choral backing that sounds like it came out of a primitive games console. Featuring a chaotic and dissonant solo (which many of the songs feature), I have to admit the atmosphere of dread and evil is (surprisingly) actually well conveyed! Finally, we have “Graveyard” (albeit, before ANOTHER filler piano interlude that closes the album). A lengthy track at nearly seven minutes, we slowly open with chorus and a pace that slowly builds up to an almost doom-laden riff. We then proceed into the, by now expected, thrashy and deathy riffs and echoey growls from self-named Master of Graveyard Torment before closing on the same doomy riff that opened.

This album is a curious thing, it genuinely feels as though an up-and-coming black/death/thrash outfit from the early 80’s buried a cassette and it was recently rediscovered in some guy’s basement. This very particular sounds was, I feel, very much a product of its time: limited availability to decent equipment, limited exposure to music from other bands (at least compared to the Spotify era), and many genres still in their developmental stages. Overall, I don’t think this sound has aged particularly well – I personally enjoy SEPULTURA’S original version of “Troops of Doom” precisely for the so-bad-it’s-good effect! These days there are perilously few excuses for this sort of thing. Having said that, what is here actually is quite a bit of fun! It has a real novelty about it, right down to the goofy band photo that evokes the very cringiest of black metal moments! You won’t find much of genuine gravity or consequence here, but by all means go ahead and have a good old laugh and a romp by putting this on and going numb!

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 6
Memorability: 6
Production:  5

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Primeval Devilish Worship
2. Wickedness
3. Profane
4. Death of the Savior
5. Poisoned Blood of the Redeemer
6. Constantine
7. Entering the Realm
8. Obscure
9. Mother Hecate
10. Burning
11. Dismal Depths
12. Blasphemous
13. Invocation
14. Graveyard
15. Dreams of Beyond
Lineup:
Master of Graveyard Torment – Vocals and Drums
Czernobog – Bass
Tormentor of the Dark – Guitar
Infernal – Guitar
Record Label: Nuclear War Now! Productions
     


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