Timewrought Kings by ApotelesmaRelease date: October 27, 2017
Label: Solitude Productions
Timewrought Kings is the debut album from Apotelesma (formerly Monuments), a five-piec doom outfit from the Netherlands. Apotelesma apparently roughly translates to “the influence of the stars on human destiny” and Timewrought Kings seeks to embody and explore the human struggle to come to terms with the passage of time and the considerable failings of human society, eventually rejecting it altogether. An emotive exploration of these themes is an incredibly ambitious project for any band, let alone as a debut, however, I am pleased to be able to report that Apotelesma have shown themselves to be more than up to the task.
The album’s opening song ‘Aural Emanations’ starts out gently with melodic guitars and winds its way along lazily, meandering and slowly building. Heavy guitars kick in and bring us forward into the light, marching steadily, relentlessly pushing us on to where we are met by the guttural and powerful growls of lead singer Mitch. Moving further onward there is always melody underlying the heaviness, the song keeps pushing forward and developing, never rushed but always evolving. Suddenly Mitch breaks into clean and soaring vocals which offer an unexpected but beautiful contrast to the heaviness and harsh vocals heard previously; before we quickly find ourselves descending again, back into the dark. Was that a momentary glimpse of clarity? Or perhaps a memory of an older, more innocent world? It is difficult to not try and search for meaning and profundity here.
This album is heavy, Apotelesma’s music makes you feel like your face might be melting (potentially in slow motion from the heat of a world ending nuclear holocaust), but this heaviness is achieved without huge amounts of distortion. The high-quality production and mixing mean that everything is crystal clear. This also further enhances the effect of the melodic parts which play a huge role in making this album as good as it is. Bright and fresh are two words which I feel describe this album for me. The emotions this album evokes are very similar to those of Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, however, instead of a bleak, dark and barren landscape with hooded and shuffling figures in the distance, the similarly desperate world evoked by Timewrought Kings is sun scorched, blisteringly hot and painfully bright. Furthermore, rather than staring at their feet with hair covering their faces, Apotelesma are standing defiantly, staring you straight in the eyes as civilisation burns all around you.
Apotelesma are generally classified as doom metal, but they themselves admit that they wend their way towards other genres such as melo-black and death metal. I have no idea what genre I would put Apotelesma in, but happily I also absolutely do not care. With Timewrought Kings, Apotelesma have shown themselves to be unique and masterful musicians and this is without a doubt my current top contender for album of the year.