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Apokatastasia - Shedding CD (album) cover




Experimental/Post Metal

4.07 | 8 ratings

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Conor Fynes
Prog Reviewer
4 stars 'Shedding' - Apokatastasia (8/10)

Hailing from Switzerland comes this unlikely album from one-time act Apokatastasia. If you're wondering why you've never heard of these guys before, there's good reason. Throughout their decade plus of existence, the band has only ever put out a four song demo, and this one full-length album, released independently of any label support. With a general lack of publicity, this band has remained obscure, and it is quite a shame for the fact that despite not being prolific in their efforts, 'Shedding' is an excellent piece of work. Mixing such far flung sounds as psychedelic rock and classical chamber music onto a technical metal backdrop, Apokatastasia's one legitimate album is a powerhouse from beginning to end.

With the exception of a few ambient howls here and there, a short clean vocal section, and a straightforward bonus track, 'Shedding' is an instrumental affair, instead allowing the band's defining trait- the use of the violin- to lead many of the band's passages. While there are many heavier moments on the album, Apokatastasia opts for a very dynamic approach in the sense that there are about as many mellow moments here as more typical 'metal' sections. Leading the album onwards is 'Schizophriend', a perfect overture for what is to come. From the first few minutes of the album, the listener can already hear the psychedelic-tinged sound of the band's atmosphere, as well as the haunting violin and the starkly contrasted metal riffage abruptly thrown in. 'Schizophriend' also manages to make a perfect climax in the song, following the heaviest section in the song with a moment of quiet respite, then followed in suit by a stunning harmony between the guitars and the violin. An incredible way to introduce the band's style.

Next is 'Sag Lessek,' which is sure to focus a bit more on the metal sound that generally lacked from the first track. Here, the violins are mixed with the heavier metal in a very up- tempo track that is reminiscent of gypsy jazz. Next after that is 'LysergSureDithylamid,' an obvious homage to the psychedelic compound made famous by sixties counterculture. Coincidentally, this mellow and trippy foray into psychedelic chamber music sounds like a page ripped out of the Beatle's 'Yellow Submarine' film soundtrack. Some meandering guitar work floats in the background as the incredible string work of David Reitz. This beautiful, yet unsettling piece of music- along with 'Schizophriend'- are the two grandest highlights on the album, and while the other tracks maintain an intelligent design, none share the same impact.

A brief, trippy yet ultimately unnecessary interlude later is the album's thrashiest and heaviest number, 'Raped Visions'. It is here where the band's technical metal roots come in full force, and it is clear that the band can play metal like the best of them. With the final two tracks, the band reprises the same style developed over the previous tracks, and builds upon them a bit, making for a less shocking yet equally enjoyable second half.

On top of the actual album material, the band kindly includes a bonus track, which is much unlike the rest of the music here for the fact that it has vocals throughout the entire song. Instantly reminding me of a more experimental version of Opeth, the bonus track manages to reprise all of the band's style merges in a relatively short song length, perhaps giving a hint of where the band plans, or planned to go with their sound in the future. As far as this debut is concerned however, it is a shame that Apokatastasia has never released anything after 'Shedding,' for it is a beautifully haunting piece of work. At times, it does feel as if some sections (particularly the heavier parts) could have done better with some vocal work to bridge the gap, but anyone looking for a piece of metal that is avant-garde without sounding too quirky or strange would do well to seek out this obscure gem.

Conor Fynes | 4/5 |


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