Review Summary: The sad thing about the album is that after many listens it only becomes increasingly harder to tolerate. The repetition is what really drags it down, and keeps me from rating this above a 3.
Think about a time you really wanted to do something. First you pictured it clearly in your mind, and then you placed yourself into that image. When you finally are able to do that activity, you are quickly taken to a stage of pleasure and desire to keep that state. Later on, you engage in that activity once more. The again. At this point, you realize that this short activity doesn´t bring the same amount of satisfaction as the first time, and you become disappointed. Trying to engage in it even more makes you dislike it at an rapid rate. This happens to all of us, one time or another, and then we realize how bland the actual situation really is. This exact thing happened to me with Sinful´s Апостол, after being hooked with their previous release.
Sinful’s latest release comes off as a mixed bag of treats, which is initially quite amusing, but wears off as easily as it comes. XIII Апостол treads between the genres of symphonic black metal and melodic black metal, whose boundaries aren’t well laid out to begin with. It would be safest to say that some songs follow more keyboard-driven melodies, while others are mainly guided by the guitars. For the most part, the guitar and keyboards play side by side and compliment each other. At other times, the keyboards simply add atmosphere to the tracks and let the guitar do all of the work.
The length is quite short, being only half an hour long, which is a blessing surprisingly since any more material of this caliber would be a pain to listen to. The most memorable parts are when the keyboards are high in the mix combined with the guitars, and also when the songs take a more mysterious vibe. However, the rest just seems like filler, or even uninteresting. There are a couple of times when the keyboards are too ambitious and want to perform epic melodies, but this has been done before and brings nothing new to the genre.
Truth is, there is not much to make the record stand out from other bands in similar styles. Almost all of the elements present have been tried by many other bands. The vocals are fairly average, performing both rapsy shrieks and low growls, although the low growls often become annoying and detracting from the music. The good thing is that the vocals are kept as background, which does the songs a huge favor. Additionally, there is much repetition to be found, and certainly not the positive kind. The second half of the album is a lot more bland than the first due to lack of variety, and predictable songs. Speaking of songs, their length is about 4 minutes, which is the primary cause of the repetition problem, and leaves very little room to change song structures, or allow them evolve in a certain way. The only variety present is changing from very catchy bits to crushing guitar riffs.
The sad thing about the album is that after many listens it only becomes increasingly harder to tolerate. The repetition is what really drags it down, and keeps me from rating this above a 3. Sure, there are enjoyable moments in every song and a some tempo changes, but that’s about it. It is entertaining and catchy though. The intro and outro tracks are very forgettable and average. I often wonder what the goal of the album was, trying to take elements that have been done to death and blending them into their own style? It seems like a trend in symphonic black metal bands these days to turn suddenly heavier and downgrade their sound. They might attract a few ears that like easy listens and hearing the same song over and over, with varying little bits from time to time. But to the thinking mind that wants a musical challenge an album like this is only an insult.