Jul 9, 2012
Apostate - Trapped In A Sleep ...
Interesting to note that 'Trapped in a Sleep' is their début album, 17 years after their original formation so you have to wonder how old are these songs? They certainly sound like something that might have been written in the 90's and this album does have a kind of "dated feeling" about it. Whenever I hear this album, I always think of Draconian and while this band is not even close to being a copy-cat/rip-off band, there is not much to separate them from a million other death-doom bands playing homage to the original death-doom bands.
The album starts brilliantly with an atmospheric intro which leads into 'Earth Escape Plan' which is surprisingly catchy for a death-doom act. Some great guitar work and an interesting blend of vocal techniques that range from generic growls to clean to spoken word are used to perfection. It has to be said the band are closer to traditional doom metal than death-doom and there is strong use of melody and slightly progressive instrumentation.
The opening track is an easy 9 minutes to take in, catchy, interesting and slightly diverse but when the second 9 minute track that follows comes into play, the cracks begin to appear. Titled 'Worm' the band seem a little awkward and unsure of where the song should go. Growls are layed with spoken-word and that can seem a little messy at times but luckily, the track has inspired moments of instrumentation that keep it listenable. Keyboards are used sparingly but add some warmth and depth to the feeling of utter desolation this track has. The track and album overall is one mostly slow dirge but there are moments where they up the pace and those passages bring a sigh of relief because this would be a very tedious album without it.
From 'Worm' onwards, the album becomes a little repetitive as they tend to recycle the same riff over and over. That is not a problem in itself, after-all many bands do it but the problem here is these riffs are pretty ordinary. The worst offender is the title track that drags on for almost 12 minutes and is pretty much a snooze-fest after the first three minutes. 'Filling The Void' at least breaks the dullness up a little by being the most traditional doom track on the album. Even though the tune barely gets above a crawl, it does have a hypnotic, engaging atmosphere. By this stage of the album you may notice something else that is lacking in the album and that is guitar work. The riffs are often repeated to death and lack any real dynamics and there is very little in the way of leads which makes the guitar work very one-dimensional.
'Sisyphean Struggle' is a great track for the first few minutes and then starts to wander aimlessly but the opening 3 to 4 minutes are very strong. The album then ends on the shortest track of the album 'Eternal Return' which is just more of the same but at least it is short. As musicians, Apostate seem to really have it all together but as songwriters, this album doesn't offer much at all. Stock death-doom that is listenable if you are patient enough to endure the dry repetitive riffing. 'Trapped in a Sleep' has its moments of excellence but not enough to make it rise anywhere above a mediocre death-doom release....6/10.
Words: Jack Sabbath, Ed Barnard.
Apostate Official Website