Apocalypse Orchestra – The End is Nigh
Release Date: 12/05/2017
Running time: 59:18
Review by Dawn “The Metal Priestess” King
With one leg stuck in medieval times and the other in modern metal, Apocalypse Orchestra have produced a genre that could be almost entirely their own. Combining the tone of the hurdy-gurdy (a traditional violin-like stringed instrument) and bagpipes with heavy guitars, they have brought together music that had been separated for more than 800 years.
Hailing from Gävle in Sweden, Apocalypse Orchestra was formed in 2013 by musical partners in crime, Mikael Lindstrom and Erik Larsson, and inspired by their love of folk music and slow metal, they decided to combine the two. With a foundation of original music and lyrics, they have incorporated melodies from as far back as the 11th century with the band’s goal being to “create a musical homage to a bygone musical era.”
With a live show that features theatrical performances, fire and projected animation, the band have become one of the most talked about acts currently on the Swedish circuit, and lyrical themes range from the everyday toils of man in the dark ages, to art, science and literature to views of other world existence.
Recorded throughout the latter half of 2016, The End is Nigh is the band’s debut album and was released on Despotz Records on 12th May 2017. The drums were tracked at Studio Overlook by William Blackmon (Gadget, Beardfish, Isole) while the rest of the album was recorded at Studio Bordun by the band themselves. The album was mixed by Per Nilsson of Scar Symmetry and Zierler at Studi Kabyss and focuses on tales of the plague, hell and the meaninglessness of war and suffering.
Bagpipes kick off the album with the first single, The Garden of Earthly Delights, after which the band then crash into Pyre, a song about witch trials, The Spanish Inquisition and wrongful accusations whereas Exhale thinks about mankind’s mortality and fear of death. The album’s crescendo, Here Be Monsters “gazes into the far distant, across the sea, and into the abyss.”
Each track is above average in length, usually 7-8 minutes in length and the whole album is 59 minutes of epic folk and doom metal. Folk metal has always been a genre I had shied away from whereas I love the slow pace of doom, and this album perfectly combines the two. There is a progressiveness to their sound and this is seen in the excellent song writing and musicianship of each member of the band.
The vocals are clean and dark, almost chanting, and with the choral backing vocals, the whole album has a very melancholic mood and tone. It kind of reminds me of the 90’s band Enigma, if it has been “metalled” up somewhat.
This album is a re-working of a previous EP released in 2015, with the first four tracks being re-recordings, plus a further four new songs and as a debut I am thoroughly impressed.
This is a must have album for both doom lovers and folk fans alike and I, for one, can’t wait to see what the future holds for these guys!
1. The Garden of Earthly Delights
3. Flagellants’ Song
5. Theatre of War
6. The Great Mortality
7. To Embark
8. Here Be Monsters
Jonas Lindh – Guitars, mandola, backing vocals
Jimmy Mattsson – Bass, backing vocals
Andreas Skoglund – Drums and percussion, backing vocals
Mikael Lindström – Hurdy gurdy, bagpipes, rauschpfeife, backing vocals
Erik Larsson – Guitars, mandola, cittern, lead vocals
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