Apophys – Devoratis (Ultimate Massacre Productions)Thursday, 8th February 2018
After bringing forth an enjoyably no-frills death metal release back in 2015 with their debut, Prime Incursion, the Dutch act of Apophys have returned with their follow-up. Devoratis is the type of album that picks up squarely where the debut left off, with the exception being that this time they have taken the sci-fi concepts inherent in the band and brought forth a fully conceptual record. One written by the band’s vocalist Kevin Quilligan that deals with unlikely alliances and interstellar dark forces.
It’s always a plus to have some more conceptual and story-based material in death metal, where sometimes nonsensical phrasing and over the top violence reign supreme. So an original effort like Devoratis should always get a few kudos. Outside of the story, those who checked into their debut know pretty much what to expect here. Many frantic bursts of speed and extremity, with the need to bludgeon outweighing the technical aspects of the music. Apophys continue to nail this aspect of their music, with “The Verdict” and “Children of the Stars” showcasing their formula of blending in some well-placed groove into an otherwise straight death metal ripping. There are some more melodic/progressive pieces throughout as well, like “What We Will Be,” in part a necessity to storytelling as well as giving the music some extra memorability outside of the thick, chunky grooves they regularly deploy. Enjoyable as these moments may be, the bread and butter of this act is still the crushing power of a heavy track like “Matters Unresolved,” with streamrolling riffs and a pleasant case of varied vocals (from barks to screams and even some clean-ish yells).
Apophys prove their consistency with an enjoyable round two with Devoratis. Solid storytelling, an abundance of brutal riffs and grooves, and just enough melody to keep you interested outside of the bruising. While it simply follows the path of Prime Incursion, it’s hard to complain when it’s done this well.