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Sculptured - Apollo Ends CD (album) cover




Tech/Extreme Prog Metal

3.50 | 10 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
3 stars To be honest I know almost nothing about real death metal and I wouldn't be able to find a difference between death metal and black metal even if my life depended on it! Seriously. However a few years back I discovered that I kinda enjoy progressive version of those styles, especially if the bands playing it have some retro elements (e.g. use old style keyboards), have many melodic elements, not too much growling and not too many anti-Christian/satanic lyrics (I am a Catholic, so you know...). Well, Sculptured met most of my requirements (except for the last one because their third album unfortunately went too far lyrically for my taste).

So let's focus on their second, the least appreciated album - "Apollo Ends" from 2000.

1) "Washing My Hands of It" (5:33) - from the very beginning of this record Sculptured shows that they are not a "normal" death metal band. Actually we have to wait for one minute before we even hear any vocals cos the song begins with an instrumental introduction full of irregular guitar riffs and...a trumpet! Yup, they actually use a trumpet and trombone on a theoretically death metal album. Very special. After that we find out that "Washing My Hands of It" is actually a very catchy heavy metal song with both raspy growling and (dominant) clean vocals. Thanks to this the music is very special and memorable. The only pity is that the last minute is just full of boring voices sampled from some news broadcast or a movie.

2) "Above The 60th Parallel" (6:10) - another great track full of battles between clean and harsh vocals (but in fact both are pretty melodic). The guitar solo sounds like pure 70s hard rock and a trumpet solo is a nice surprise too. It is probably a terrible thing for lovers of real death metal...but I can actually tap my fingers and feet while listening to it, it's so frigging catchy.

3) "Snow Covers All" (7:17) - much harder than the two previous songs. Many atonal, experimental guitar riffs and growling, but there are still some more melodic fragments and another trumpet solo. Actually the second part of the composition is much better than the first one. Many fantastic instrumental sections there, and even some whistling! More clean vocals too.

4) "Between Goldberg" (6:44) - this one starts in a similar vein like the previous song. Then quickly becomes very melodic again and the trumpet/trombone mostly dominate here. Not too much growling. But sampled voiced in the middle are annoying again. The final trumpet and classic hard rock solos will surely scare off all the death metal purists who managed to survive so far...

5) "Apollo Destroys, Apollo Creates" (9:51) - here the real troubles arise. 10-minute long epic? No way! First 5 minutes are full of atonal, pseudo-experimental rumbling noises. Awful stuff! But later we can witness a truly nice guitar solo that soon becomes surprisingly mellow. Black Sabbath used to include such peaceful interludes on their classic albums. Very nice but a little repetitive and somehow out of place.

6) "Song To Fall On Deaf Ears" (6:27) - return to the familiar territory. I love the contrast between growling and clean vocals, as well as the choir-like singing from the third minute. A great finale with another classy electric guitar solo.

7) "Summary" (0:40) - a short instrumental with a couple of ideas already developed in other songs. So, yes, a summary.

Overall, "Apollo Ends" is not a masterpiece but it's not lousy either. It's not as good as the other two albums of this formation because of a couple of problems: no keyboards, short duration, wasted 5 minutes in the 5th track and some of the motiffs were a bit too similar to each other. So if you are new to this kind of music, better start somewhere else, but if you already know the other two albums of Sculptured, you should definitely get this one too. If you like this kind of "extreme" but still melodic and, at the same time, experimental music, I suggest you also check out: Ansur, Death Organ, Solefald, Sigh, Borknagar and Vintersorg.

Best tracks: "Washing My Hands of It", "Above The 60th Parallel" and "Song To Fall On Deaf Ears".

3.5 stars from ozzy_tom

ozzy_tom | 3/5 |


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