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Apokatastasia - Shedding CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

4.07 | 8 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars APOKATASTASIA formed in 1998 in the city of Zug, Switzerland which sits due south of the city of Zurich in the northern region of the country. This unique band caught the attention of the prog world back in the early 2000s with its debut demo "Waiting Four" which showcased a unique blend of "Red" era King Crimson guitar riffing only with a much heavier metal attitude with classical and jazz underpinnings of harmonic development and complexities. The main feature of this band's sound though was by far the instantly ear-catching violin and cello contributions which also brought the prog historian back to the early years of prog which reminded a lot of High Tide's classic "Sea Shanties" however APOKATASTASIA eschewed any vocal aspects and crafted a wild 30 minute ride of instrumental prog prowess.

While technically "Waiting Four" was a mere demo, the quality of the music and the excellent production guaranteed that anyone interested in this band would consider it a bonafide release since the four tracks never appeared anywhere else. Two years later the band which consisted of Mark Hofstetter (guitar), Matthias Kürsteiner (guitar), Dario Hofstetter (drums) and David Reitz (violin, cello) and later joined by Markus Bach (bass, 2003-present) released its first and so far only album SHEDDING which seems to be the last we'll ever hear from this band since fifteen years have elapsed since this album's release. The band started out under the name Radical Moon in the 90s and then took a more metal turns as Schizophriend before adopting the more cryptic moniker APOKATASTASIA which seems to be derived from "apocatastasis" which means the belief that all souls ultimately achieve salvation and are received into heaven.

Continuing in the vein of the debut demo release, APOKATASTASIA expands upon the sounds laid down and crafted a more expansive left field into the world of prog rock with an overall less metallic bombast. SHEDDING reminds me most of early Anekdoten with lush symphonic backdrops that include softer guitar passages alternated with heavy rock energy for contrast but for the most part SHEDDING seems to revolve around the melancholic violin and cello performances that keep this album in a state of depressive classical music mode where parts are inspired by Anton Dvorak's cello concertos. While predominantly an instrumental album in the footsteps of "Waiting Four," SHEDDING offers a view vocal utterances which mostly serve as wordless melodies that act as an extra instrument rather than convey any lyrical significance. The exception to this is the bonus track "Empty Flower Vox Edit" which adds growly vocals to the instrumental track first released on the demo.

SHEDDING is one of those intricately designed strolls into prog paradise with hefty compositions that take labyrinthine turns through countless movements that nurture melodic processions which finds dominant violins driving guitars, bass and drums into the progosphere and back. The music is as dark and forbidding as the album cover art implies and while including just enough metal moments to squeak by is really an overall mid tempo KC-Red style rock parade that excels in complex time signature workouts and abrupt changes from pacifying violin rock to metal bombast at the drop of a hat. The album features nine tracks and the first eight tracks from the sound sample "Intro" to the cello-fueled "Nothing" mostly simmer on a mode that emphasizes atmospheric string-driven rock over metal bombast but the final closer "Empty Flower Vox Edit" unleashes the full metal fury with complex prog bombast and metal distortion that reminds me most of Opeth's earliest offerings. This is a really interesting album that will please those who love that magic grey area where heavier prog rock meets the metal universe. These are advanced level compositions here and only for those who like melodically driven angularity if ya know what i mean!

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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