Review Summary: Apostate show off technical prowess and promise in their debut EP.Apostate – noun: a person who forsakes his religion, cause, party, etc.
While Apostate doesn’t exactly abandon most of the principles of metalcore, their lone EP shows a profound sense of musical knowledge and songwriting that seems to indicate they could blossom into a technical machine in the near future. Just beginning their first wide-scale European tour, this Prague-based 5 piece is years ahead of their time.
Pairing fast riffs and technical leads with a driving, audible bass is definitely the key to this band’s success. There are very few sections of the EP without fast picked leads, blazing arpeggio sweeps, stop-and-start triplets, or dual-harmonized guitar parts. The only real problem with this is that occasionally the rhythm guitar reverts to more basic patterned palm muted chugs, even if they are rapidly traded off between palm muted chords and fast sweeps. The bass is also nicely at work slapping off underlying melodies and adding a frantic side to the build-up seen in “False Footsteps”.
Another great selling point of the band is the fantastic drum work. Instead of focusing on blazing double bass or a huge kit, the drummer has a fairly original idea of keeping only his kit minimal except when it comes to the china. With only a bass, snare, and two toms, his kit would seem overmatched if it weren’t for his 10 cymbals. The fine china work is expertly displayed throughout the EP, with tons of small crashes, “tings”, and huge china fills. Each cymbal sounds so perfectly different that all the small china gravities and fills sound crisp and charmingly refreshing compared most standard metalcore drumming.
Thematically, however, the album seems to be lacking and is kind of clustered into a very vague sense of desertion and abandonment much in the vein of August Burns Red. In “Omit the Words” the vocalist roars:
“They are not worth your sacrifice,
Two words are not enough to thank you,
Omit the words and vows”
While it may seem taken out of context, it is very hard to figure the context of the EP itself. It doesn’t really hinder the EP much, but it lacks a truly personal or emotive aspect to the listener.
The vocals are very harsh and resort to an off-cadence delivery to match the frantic guitar and drum lines. It works well because the vocalist can keep up and deliver his very throaty and raw growls in a way that adds a definite punch and percussive element to the instrumentals. Unfortunately the delivery is very monotone and would greatly benefit from a more diverse range over a future LP.
Apostate also includes several very well placed and timed breakdowns in the EP, most notably in the aforementioned “False Footsteps,” when a particularly blazing section immediately comes to a stop and after a half-beat, a very fine piece of china produces a series of delightful “tings” which precedes a huge bass drop and a boatload of bass slides in a refreshingly original breakdown. The usage of overlaying guitar and bass melodies and sweeps during breakdowns adds a constantly changing spice and unpredictability to what would otherwise be several very average chugging sections. They display this again in the final track, “Raised on the Blood of Heroes” when the guitarists trade each chug with pinched harmonics and a slapping bass melody. The lack of predictability in said breakdown sections makes for a surprisingly exciting listen.
, Apostate creates their own sound and never stops being truly creative and refined. It would be a mistake of any fan of techincal metalcore genre to let this album go unnoticed.