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Apocryfal – Crushing Black Death

Crushing Black Death
by "Der Bärtige Mann" Gareth Beams at 03 February 2020, 3:39 AM

APOCRYFAL are a 5-piece Blackened Death Metal band from Jyväskylä, Finland. This is their first full-length album. This album was released on December 15th, 2019.  APOCRYFAL have been together since 2009 and released a demo in 2012 called Demons, as well as an EP the year after called Aberration of Mind. The band members have been together since day one, which shows a loyalty within the brotherhood that is unusual to see, they share this trait with bands such as RAMMSTEIN and RAGE AGAINST THE MACHINE to name just a few.  So, lets see what the guys have put together for us.

Painaja” certainly has a BEHEMOTH sounding harmony from the off, as far as instrumentally elements go. It is a slow builder, but you can hear things building straight away. The vocals are coarse, but follow able, if you can speak Finnish that is. The melodies going through allow an easy intro into the album, which when at the pace of this song, is not a bad plan, as long as it picks up. Good start to the album. Didn’t set anything off madly, but kept a controlled and balanced approach up to scratch.

Truth Hath No Confines” greets us with a short rain felt sample, which feels a bit pointless due to the length. The melodies are building from the off, slowly, but feels like it could kick in. The pace is once more is slow, but controlled. It has lost the tempo slightly, so it doesn’t feel like it will explode, yet it feels like the album will remain in the balance, and sometimes, when the melodies work as well as they do here, it is enough to make it a great album.

Redeemer” picks up the pace, which is a good thing to hear. Drums have gone up a gear. That was the intro at least, the instrumentals go back into their comfort zone more. The melodies are still good, they are solid enough, but they do not change enough from what we heard in “Painaja” and “Truth Hath No Confines”. The vocals are once more coarse, but not distorted seemingly just for the sake of it, which is a bonus.   The pace picks up slightly in places through the song, but these segments do not last long enough before reverting to the levels set in by the band. Again, this is not a bad song at all, it is just not a new sounding song.

Kirkonväki” has a gong as a sample, much like DARK FUNERAL do in “As I Ascend”, however in that song they keep it going and blend it in to the song, this song does not, it cuts it short again. The pace certainly has picked up, which can only be a welcomed thing to the album as whole. It is a faster more aggressive approach and it works really well. It is a good point in the album to mix things up. And, although the pace and tempo has increased, the balance and composure still remain which makes the harmonies flow and the song much better. A good song, very well placed in the album.

Grievance Pt. II” slows things down once more, which is disappointing that they didn’t play off “Kirkonväki” and kick into a new sound to enter the second half of the album. The song does introduce a new approach, which is a slow start and then a medium-paced end to the song, which is a good idea, but the lack of pace does put a dampener on the song and it feels misplaced in a sense.

Kello, kirja ja kynttilä” returns the heavier hitting drums that we heard briefly in “Redeemer”. The same thing happens here though, high-paced start to a slow tempo once the rest of the band join in. The melodies are still working well to build up, but they need to try newer sounds, as this album can fade into each song. This is a longer song, so we may have expected a few changes in balance. The last minute of the song did tease a change with a faster pace, but did not act upon it.

The Mammoth” keeps the steady pace set throughout the album. The melodies are very similar to what we have heard so far, balance remains key and at this point, it seems like a change will not happen. The thing is, if you hear just this song you will hear decent melodies coming through and it may bring you into hearing more of the album, so for its position in the album, it blends in.

Crushing Black Death” final song, last chance for something new. The start is fast, great guitar play, where has this been all album? The drums meet and pace decreases, vocals kick in and it returns to the set-by pace on the album. The balance keeps thing together, which is good as there areno rogue elements, but that also mean experimental aspects are to a minimum.

Blackened Death Metal, usually has slower, thicker paced melodies then the more traditional Death Metal melodies do, so for that, this album keeps it to what we know to work. The lack of experimental aspects in the beginning could have potentially become an issue, but the styles of balance make the songs good, just maybe listen to them in a mixed playlist. I think if the band uses samples, either extend them or cut them altogether, they length here is pointless. Good album to mix in with a playlist.

Songwriting: 7
Musicianship: 7
Memorability: 7
Production: 7

3 Star Rating

1. Painaja
2. Truth Hath No Confines
3. Redeemer
4. Kirkonväki
5. Grievance Pt. II
6. Kello, kirja ja kynttilä
7. The Mammoth
8. Crushing Black Death
Pasi Vastamäki – Vocals
Juha Lausamo – Guitars
Joni Välipakka – Bass Guitar
Mikko Homanen – Guitars
Juho Suomi – Drums
Record Label: Mara Productions


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Edited 01 December 2022

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