Apostle of Solitude – Of Wounds and Woe (Cruz del Sur Music)

Sunday, 2nd November 2014
Rating: 8/10

This Indianapolis-based doom crew hit a visual home run with the unforgettable cover for Last Sunrise. In an age where generic and played-out digital graphics dominate the album artwork landscape, Apostle of Solitude certainly left a lasting impression with two would-be lovers pointing guns at one another. (Hopefully they resolved things by going to counseling.) So while Of Wounds and Woe doesn’t quite have the same impact on one’s eyeballs, it does carry over the consistent, heart-achy American doom heard on Last Sunrise.

Essentially right in the sonic sweet spot between Nightfall-era Candlemass and all-eras Solitude of Aeternus (doom bands sure love the word “solitude,” don’t they?), AoS rely heavily on the pushy riff action of Steve Janiack and Chuck Brown, the latter of which did significant time in fellow doom cohorts The Gates of Slumber. Therefore, the familiarized tones found on cuts such as “Blackest of Times,” the excellent “Lamentations of a Broken Man” and “This Mania” are sure to strike a resonant chord with the old and weathered. Brown’s could possibly be the best aspect of the band too; he’s clear and enunciated throughout, and thankfully not doctored up by any studio enhancements. The aforementioned “Lamentations of a Broken Man,” along with “Push Mortal Coil” serve as his top moments on record.

In the same fashion as Last Sunrise, Of Wounds and Woe will probably skirt under a few radars giving the band’s locale and minimal reach on the European live front. But as it has been come to be known, an American doom band can enjoy stabilized longevity simply by not straying too far from one’s roots, something Apostle of Solitude does rather convincingly here.

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