Album: Pre[CURSE]r [EP]
It’s a rare and beautiful thing for an EP to have the feel and material density of a full length without it being overwhelming or inherently bland. However, 2012 has shown us that, even if it happens to be a rare occurrence, it does still happen. Bound by Exile’s Defilement and Martyr Defiled’s In Shadows are two such examples; wonderfully composed and detailed–but brief–idols of brilliance. And now, technical, intense deathcore fans have a third. Pre[CURSE]r is an EP by Arizonian act Apparitions which contrasts grinding, jarring grooves with slamming breakdowns and a fair share of shred that is guaranteed to make the listener’s pulse pound and their head bang.
Apparitions are an instrumental juggernaut, who use deep, heavy drumming and rumbling steamrolling bass to build a solid foundation for Pre[CURSE]r’s heaviness. With blossoming, brilliant fills and splashy, vibrant cymbal work playing against a booming, deep bass drum, the drums not only add a solid, deep foundation, but a ethereal ambience as well. While the drums crash, boom and splash, the bass rolls rampantly overtop of them, adding a flat, callous baseline (pun intended) which provides a smooth, steady canvas for the guitars to work across. The guitars range from a grimy, filthy Bermuda-esque groove to a shreddy, perfectly clean tone–hitting a deep, crushing tone which snaps bones and peels back the listener’s skin. Where the fretwork is truly marvelous, however, is when the guitars cover all of their figurative “bases” in the span of seconds, dropping from a groove-backed, technical solo into a deep, back-breaking slam which flows brilliantly into a breakdown. “Egos and Empires,” along with “Malice” showcase this brilliantly.
While the instruments rip and roar in the background, the vocals bring Apparition’s full onslaught of anger and bitterness to the forefront of the listener’s attention. Pre[CURSE]r exhibits and wide variety of vocal styles which constantly barrage the listener with well-written and thought-fueled lyrics, often dwelling on a misanthropic, disgusted view of the society surrounding us. “Egos and Empires” displays a great variety of range, but puts the vocalists’ marvelously smooth mid-range scream on center stage, while “The Harvest Storm” introduces a much more frequent high, shrieking yell. Conversely, “Cancerous” contrasts that same smooth mid with a bellowed, gasping low which not only sounds wonderful on it’s own, but fits beautifully with the groove that surrounds it.
“Cancerous” is in fact the best example of the true, shining brilliance to be had in Apparitions’ gem of a release: the contoured, induced-fit style molding of the vocals and instruments. While the instruments function as a great, wide and diverse quilt of sound, they need something to enfold–to close in around, so to speak. This is where the vocals come into play: they place themselves right in the center of this blanket of sound, causing an enzymatic induced fit between the two. This catalytic activity results in a smothering, onslaught of sound which barrages the listener, and leaves them bloody, broken and begging for more.
True, “short but sweet” isn’t something you hear too often about EP’s–especially when they’re only five tracks long. However, Apparitions’ Pre[CURSE]r is a diamond in the rough, functioning as a brief gem and stunning reminder that not every release needs a long, complex and involved story line to have an immersive, catchy and crushing dynamic.
For Fans Of: Bermuda, Volumes, And Hell Followed With, Knights of the Abyss, Every Hand Betrayed.
By: Connor Welsh/Eccentricism