REVIEW: Fallen Apollo – The Rotting Wretched [EP/2014]


Artist: Fallen Apollo

Album: The Rotting Wretched – EP


We tend to think of decomposition as a long, acrid process throughout which Mother Nature reclaims what is rightfully hers. Flesh is slowly stripped away from bone, displaying an idyllic devolution of sophisticated, stunning complexity into rot and decay. We perceive this gory, gruesome process to take days or weeks, when in actuality, it is capable of happening much more quickly. Case in point: the latest EP from Essex-based eviscerators, Fallen Apollo. The Rotting Wretched condenses the lengthy process defined by calcification of bone and collapse of human flesh into a brief—but brutalizing—collection of tracks that is just as severe as it is sinister. Fallen Apollo have managed to craft a comprehensively evil, slamming deathcore experience out of shambles and shreds of discarded humanity, providing a brief—but dense—deathcore extravaganza.

You can only begin to decay once you’re truly dead, correct? Well, that’s exactly what Fallen Apollo set out to do, and if you aren’t dead by the end of the first track, you’ll certainly be six feet under by the time The Rotting Wretched runs its course. “Eviscerate Detrimental Lives” is a whirlwind of Fallen Apollo’s penchant for fantastic, fatal instrumentation. Lead by the lightning-quick wrists and unstoppable quads of drummer Joe Bills, Fallen Apollo wreak absolute instrumental havoc on the listener in every way imaginable. Whether it’s the helter-skelter fill that kicks off the opening track, or the eclectic footwork that floors the listener throughout “Intergalactic Captivity,” Bills lies at the heart of The Rotting Wretched’s wondrous musicianship. However, even as Bills steamrolls a flat canvas of beautifully, brutally diverse drumming—that doesn’t simply rely on blast beats and insane footwork—guitarist Ben Gilbey and bassist Tom Southon unleash furiously fretted hell upon the listener’s world. Moments like the climactic build-up to the brutalizing apex of “Works of Flesh” show Gilbey and Southon working together in diabolical harmony, while “Studies of the Freeborn Man,” the album’s lead single, is a thrashy lesson in straightforward death metal riffwork that shows Gilbey at the top of his game.

While The Rotting Wretched is certainly home to impressive fretwork and disastrous, break-neck percussion, the true highlight to the release is found howled out of the Rob Clark’s throat. Clark provides a brilliant variety of vocal work that ranges from intense, dark gutturals as deep and horrifying as Satan’s farts to shrill screams that sound as if a banshee is climaxing. From the first syllable of “Eviscerate Detrimental Lives” to the last gasping heave in “Works of Flesh,” Clark gives Fallen Apollo his all, launching an all-out war on the listener with an entire cavalry of crushing, blood-curdling screams and shouts. Sections of the nearly-melodic dark interlude of “Eviscerate Detrimental Lives” see his ghastly growls matching the depth and pitch darkness of Bills’ booming bass drum, while “Intergalactic Captivity” has his shrill shrieks reaching skywards with Gilbey’s gut-wrenching fretwork.

No matter the occasion, Clark’s ability to mesh and meld with the rest of Fallen Apollo’s devious dynamic of demoralizing deathcore instrumentation is pure brilliance. Clark’s ability to provide nearly every combination of speed and pitch at the drop of a dime is nothing short of masterful, and provides The Rotting Wretched with a shining uniqueness that saves it from being another “too-short” deathcore release to get lost in the shuffle of the genre’s countless same-sounding EPs. Even as Fallen Apollo’s latest release feels too short for its own good, the sheer weight with which the release bears down upon the listener is nothing short of one-of-a-kind. Imagine taking a Pathology album or an Infant Annihilator release and throwing it in a trash compactor, leaving only the most pure and concentrated breakdowns, slams, riffs and fills in tact. What would you get? The answer is simple, you would get Fallen Apollo’s sophomore EP, The Rotting Wretched, in all of its lurching, lopsidedly heavy glory.

With all the guts and gore of a full-blown autopsy, yet with the shining brilliance and unstoppable speed of a neutron star, Fallen Apollo launch back onto the forefront of the deathcore scene with The Rotting Wretched. Three parts relentless heaviness, two parts blitzkrieging speed and one part vocal brilliance, Fallen Apollo are one act you don’t want to sleep on—especially because you can sleep when you’re dead and rotting.



For Fans Of: Slaughter for the Daddy, Infant Annihilator, Pathology, I Declare War

By: Connor Welsh