Review Summary: A unique hybridization of good ideas in an unpredictable, chaotic package.
Ever since their first release, The Schoenberg Automaton
have been all about eclecticism and chaos. Their second release, Apus
, still boldly embraces these two traits, while improving on every aspect of the songwriting compared to their debut release, Vela
The overall direction has also changed somewhat. While all the various touches and influences distinguishable on Vela
are still present, a slight shift away from deathcore to a less syncopated sound has been made, even introducing slight OSDM vibes to the mix, a definite change for the better. The songwriting is as chaotic as always, blending chaotic, Botch
-like mathcore assaults with Meshuggah
-esque droning passages, dissonant atmospheric tech death parts in the vein of Gorguts
and finally, beatiful, if a bit low-key, melodies every now and then. This mixing of styles is more seamless than ever thanks to expertly crafted transitions, creating songs that possess high levels of cohesion and individuality without the feeling of being patchwork chimaeras - a rather rare and underappreciated indicator of songwriting talent.
Apus is a long release, clocking in at just under an hour. A risky move that can either add to or detract from a release significantly, depending on the quality and/or variety of the music. Fortunately, with Apus
there is enough going on to keep you engaged for the entire runtime. The dissonant, chaotic onslaught backed with great drumming and frantic vocals does not outstay its welcome in the slightest. The album ends on a high note too, with a fantastic, almost 8-minute closer, "Fear", probably the most emotionally engaged track on the album. All that said though, while Apus does contain melody, it's definitely not melody-driven, and its emotional load ("Fear" notwithstanding) is overall rather low. The dearth of any noticeable buildups of tension and explosions of release holds the album back from being really essential. Still, all the ideas it contains and their bewildering execution definitely warrant familiarizing yourself with it.