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Apokryphon – Subterra

by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 02 March 2020, 9:50 AM

Zorgh founded Apokryphon, which translates to “hidden” or “dark,” and refers to old esoteric scriptures written by a variety of people that were actively hidden, or controversial and were therefore excluded from public or biblical content. Many were found to be heretical or related to Gnosticism. Many of them were written in the area of the Middle East 2000 years ago. The album contains eight tracks.

“Evangelion of the Serpent” leads off the album, and it’s an opus, clocking in at over 12 minutes in length. Tense, subdued moments start the track. It’s four minutes in before we hear ominous guitar tones and steady drums. About seven minutes in, the Black Metal sound is firmly established. It’s organized chaos. “The Naasene Psalm” opens with hushed bass notes. Drums roll in and that wall of guitars hits you hard. It’s more of that organized chaos. “Sand Ghosts” is slower in pace and features the female vocals of Orphis. It picks up a bit about one-minute in, with thunderous double bass drumming.

“The Great Ignorance” is another one with an ambient opening. Light, atmospheric sounds fill the background, but you can sense something is coming. But, it never materializes. It stays hidden in the darkness. “Anthropos” is another slow opening song. Hushed tones fill the air, and then light keys can be heard, holding long legato notes. About a minute in, guitars fill the air. Then come the vocals. The chord progressions are strange and unique. “Nag Hammadi” is another slow starter. It picks up a bit and you can really hear the bass guitar notes under the guitar madness. When the vocals come in, they are intense. The guitars rage again in unfamiliar chord progressions.

“Taxidermia” is close to twelve minutes in length. Another slow starter, spoken words lead off the song. It’s almost half-way in before that wall of guitars and drums hit. Their brand of Black Metal is quite unique. I have no idea what they are singing about, but the music is quite harrowing. The closing guitar riff is mesmerizing. “Subterra” closes the album…a track close to seven minutes in length. Spooky notes open the song, together with some atmosphere. The time shifting is quite amazing. This trio is talented. When the guitars, bass and drums roll in, there is some structure under the madness. It’s all instrumental as well. The fact that a bassist composed the band means you are going to hear the bass guitar notes, which I love.

Overall, I found the album quite fascinating. It was unusual and eerie, yet retained many of the elements of the founding fathers. They are experienced musicians, that much you can tell. From the odd chord progressions to the really spacey atmosphere, this was a unique ride that you have to experience in order to understand the album. The songs play very well with the theme—that idea that heretic or Gnostic books from the bible were left out of the final edition. It will scare the bejesus out of you.

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

4 Star Rating

1. Evangelion of the Serpent
2. The Naasene Psalm
3. Sand Ghosts
4. The Great Ignornace
5. Anthropos
6. Nag Hammadi
7. Taxidermia
8. Subterra
Zorgh – Bass
Djinn – Vocals
Orphis – Instruments, Additional Vocals
Record Label: Avantgarde Music


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