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Apophis – Excess Award winner

by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 26 July 2021, 10:41 AM

APOPHIS is a German death metal band who formed in 1989 as RAISE HELL before changing their name to APOPHIS in 1990.  Their latest album, “Excess,” is their fifth full length album.  They have also released four demos. APOPHIS is an asteroid that at one time was possibly placing earth in danger with impact.  It is also the Greek name of Apep, an evil serpent of eternal darkness who tries to swallow the sun god.  I’m not sure if the band takes their name from either of these definitions but both are perfect.  With “Excess,” APOPHIS are hellbent on maximum destruction.  But what I find so glorious about this album is they aren’t mindlessly brutal or outrageously extreme.  “Excess,” is very much focused on the most important thing in death metal:  the riffs.  These riff based song structures make all eight songs an explosion of great riffs, tons of energy, and are even catchy.   In essence, the album smashes you in the face but it is a serious and fun listen with a lot of replay value.

APOPHIS also infused the album with perfect harmony between bludgeoning notes and melodic tinges.  While they definitely aren’t melodic death, the songs are often nudged in a more melodic direction without going too far off the path. “Excess,” is an instant kick in the gut as the undercurrent of double bass pushes the rapid guitar riffs to the front.  Bernd’s vocals are deep and full but he can be understood more than most.  I’m not sure if he does them or not, but rough clean vocals are peppered throughout the song on the chorus.  Those cleans sound good and are used sparingly enough for their impact to be worthy.  The riffs take on some melody as a lead into the chorus and that is exactly what I was talking about earlier, in terms of how well they use melody.

After the second chorus, the guitars and bass hammer in a rhythm and then death growls join in to double down the effectiveness.  The guitar solo is pretty damn good, wild but still coherent.  The brief use of keyboards and the riffs that follow end the song on a high note. “Every Single Stab,” is exactly how death metal should be done.  The song is aggressive both musically and lyrically in nature but the whole thing just flat out rocks, everything in the song wrapped up in a package of head banging riffs, a sweet chorus, catchy vocal patterns, and blazing musicianship.

The beginning is a classic death metal sound with groove and double bass layering on top of each other for a huge sound.  The bass and snare drum keep the momentum going while the vocals spit out the lyrics with their own groove.  The guitar solo is well placed and leads into a breakdown that just pushes the song further down the extreme line. Around the 4:18 mark, the song slows down with melancholic guitar.  The vocals are a low rumble, almost a chant that end as a surprisingly emotional guitar solo cuts through the atmosphere.

Dust In The Sand,” is another favorite of mine on the album.  I love the clean intro and the heavy riffs afterwards that crush it.  A flurry of drums is a nice accent on it all before the song hits this thick groove that sounds blackened in places.  The song is even paced, lending it a dense sound that fits it perfectly.  This one is a banger through and through. The final track is the appropriately titled “The Show Is Over.”  That main riffs is just full armed and filthy.  The death growls are also grimy and this song is probably the heaviest on the album.  The riffs are almost thrash like in their cadence and rhythmic approach and it melds well with the song’s overall desolate sound.  About halfway through the song, it throws in a bit of atmosphere with a clean passage and a majestic guitar solo.  As with the other songs on the album, the solo leads smoothly back into the main groove of the song.  These guys just know how to put a song together!

APOPHIS’sExcess,” is an impressive death metal album that isn’t afraid to make extreme songs highly memorable.  No doubt this album will be fighting for a space on my year end lists.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Excess
2. The End of the Path
3. Every Single Stab
4. Metamorphosis
5. Forgive Yourself
6. Dust in the Sand
7. The Show Is Over
8. Temptations
Erik Stegmaier – Drums
Roger Kirchner - Guitars
Bernd Kombrin- Vocals (lead)
Fabian Guschlbauer - Guitars
Guntram Berger -  Bass 
Record Label: Massacre Records


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Edited 05 June 2023

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