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King Apathy - Wounds Award winner

King Apathy
by Martin Knap at 21 January 2019, 1:50 PM

KING APATHY don't beat around the bush when it comes to making their beliefs and convictions known. Their Bandcamp page states in an in-your-face manner true to their Hardcore roots that "the members share interests in anarchism, veganism and a critique of capitalism and industrial civilization in general. Some of them live straight edge." There album should come with a trigger warning not only because of its politics (I'm joking, obviously, but even for people who agree with part of the diagnosis of the current predicament don't necessarily jump to the same conclusions), but also because the music and lyrics are bleak like the Swamp of Sadness in The NeverEnding Story. I understand that Metalheads are generally somewhat desensitized when it comes to lyrics, but because of the Hardcore orientation of the music the message is really in your face. The band is not holding back one iota and delving more deeply into it will likely leave you with some mental discomfort – just saying.

KING APATHY, formerly THRÄNENKIND, are form Germany and play a mix of Post Hardcore and Black Metal. They are an example of how prevalent the influence of Black Metal on Hardcore has become. An obvious comparison would be HARAKIRI FOR THE SKY: they both play an emotional, melodic variety of Post-Hardcore beefed up with Black Metal riffs and blast beats, and both bands have members that also have Black Metal projects (KARG and BOJOUR TRISTESSE respectively). Though the style that they play is quite similar, I would say that KING APATHY are a bit more atmospheric than HFTS. The album opens with a dramatic instrumental intro with a sound-clip of a male voice lecturing about the Sixth Extinction, which sets the tone for the album.

The first song is an absolute killer. “The Scars of the Land” shifts between a very vitriolic, aggressive tone and deep sadness. It opens with fast drumming and aggressive yet melodic Hardcore-ish vocals. The singer screams about how “the world once living, is now dying, is being kiiiiiiiilled!” After the intense part there is a melancholic mid-tempo section, the singer’s sad voice sings about the Sixth Extinction. There is a great moment when the key changes and the singer screams about the “scars of the land.” He then repeats this phrase in an explosive chorus with very gnarly vitriolic vocals and the guitar playing an emotional clean tone riff. Piano harmonies are added also to deepen the melancholy. “Cleansing” has a slow opening with nice lead melody, buildup to a fast, aggressive section after which the song slows down and subsequently builds up to a mid-tempo section with bittersweet melodies and tender harmonies.

Great Depression” is a mid-tempo depressive rocker with a nice groove with the singer delivering very emotional, vitriolic HC vocals. The rhythm sometimes plays some staccato notes that gives the music a nice groove, there are the sad, beautiful lead guitar melodies and cool sounding harmonies, and of course emotional buildups. The vocals stand out here as they do in all the other songs. The singer delivers lines “we are working jobs we hate to buy shit we don’t need,” or “we have no hope, no place, no purpose in liiiiife!” “He Missed the Stars” is a shorter number that starts like an up-tempo Hardcore song but the second half is more emotional and middle-tempo.

Reverence” is utterly slow, bleak, despondent song, it is pure depression, no aggression. The title song is heavy and plodding, also with a bittersweet melody, filled with a sense of tragedy (the phrase “Our own demise!!!” is repeated here over and over). The album goes out with a bang: it closes with a seven minute quasi-instrumental “Earthmother Rising”. It has weepy, Post-Rock guitars, an atmospheric mid-section after which comes a buildup and an explosive section in the end with harsh vocals. It sounds truly cathartic – not only as an individual song, but also as the culmination of the whole album. There is a glimmer of hope, in other words, but only when the planet is cleansed through fire and humanity returns to an authentic, pure way of being.

I tend to like this kind of emotional, atmospheric music, so it was not hard for me to get into it, but before I gave it a couple of listens my impression was that the songs were a bit “samey". That changed as I understood the underlining dramatic structure of the album. Once it “clicked” I was hooked. You should check this album out, even if you’re not a fan of soy.

Songwriting: 9
Memorability: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Civilization Kills
2. The Scars of the Land
3. Cleansing
4. Great Depression
5. Revelation Time
6. He Missed the Stars
7. Reverence
8. Wounds
9. Earthmother Rising
Matthias - guitars, bass, lyrics
Nils - vocals & lyrics
Flo & Max - guitars
Hannes – drums
Record Label: Lifeforce Records


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