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Atrae Bilis – Apexapien Award winner

Atrae Bilis
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 04 October 2021, 2:15 PM

ATRAE BILIS is a death metal band from Canada who formed in 2001. "Apexapien" is their first full length album;  last year they released an EP. Last years "Divinihility" was a blistering experience but "Apexapien" manages to top it. Get some cream for the burn because this is a thirty one minute experience of pure fire. The production is extremely slick—the album just sounds great. It is crisp and clear but the band plays so laser focused and brutal that it doesn't sound sterile. The mixing does a wonderful job as well to show the listener all the crazy things happening within the eight tracks.

I came away from my experience with this album impressed the most by how well the instruments, and vocals, compliment each other. This is insane music but never gets lost within itself because its so well put together. Each instrument feeds off the other, a step towards the larger journey as a whole.  There are many moments when the vocals and music sync up with each other and the band grabs a hold of this special groove. It is just wave after wave of crushing death metal being hammered into your face.

Energy abounds in "Apexapien". The band takes these moments to build up these crescendos that just hit concrete hard when they drop. Listening to this album is the same feeling as the way your stomach feels as a roller coaster gets ready to take off. Then the whole thing drops, gaining momentum. Stunning?  You bet.  Terrifying?  You bet. "Theta" opens the album with a short but hard hitting intro consisting of dissonant melody, a smorgasbord of riffs and drumming that verges on the unreal. A few precious seconds pass before guttural vocals lead the band into a tech death that crams in every idea, placing each one exactly where it should be.

The middle of the song carries the momentum to new heights as a drum roll winds up the tension to a field of a murky and odd melodic section.  ATRAE BILIS make the weird interesting and the unknown exciting. I've never taken hallucinogenic drugs but "Bacterium Abloom's" opening moments might be what being ran over by a bulldozer while psychedelics sounds like. The atmosphere of the song is unsettling yet intriguing. I love now the song alternates between brutal death and psychedelic textures. No matter what the song is doing, the bass just crushes all.

"Hymn of the Flies," has possibly the most brutal vocal attack on the album. The death growls are low and thick. The rapid fire riffs envelope them well,  a double punch to the throat that busts through the other side with the perpetual death machine that is the drums. The throat singing just further adds to the experience, especially near the end when they back up by the death growls. "To Entomb The Aetherworld," is the final track, assuming your senses survived and you made it this far. This song shows off all the faces of the band and throws just about everything into it. It shows what the band can do when they expand their sound as well.

The riffs at the 3:28 are a highlight of the entire album for not only being devastatingly uncompromising but also catchy and fun. From this moment on the song builds in both atmosphere and intensity before fading out. "Apexapien" gets a lot done in a short amount of time—it is indeed a bombastic burst of death metal that is techy, dissonant, spacey and brutal all in one very complete package.

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

4 Star Rating

1. Theta
2. Lore Beyond Bone
3. By the Hierophant's Maw
4. Open the Effigy
5. Bacterium Abloom
6. Into the Seas of Sepsis
7. Hymn of the Flies
8. To Entomb the Aetherworld
Brendan Campbell – Bass
Luka Govednik – Drums
David Stepanavicius – Guitars
Jordan Berglund – Vocals
Record Label: 20 Buck Spin


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