The whole concept of this is unusual. This album is a tribute to three scientists – Halley, Hooke and Newton, hence the “Apples” presumably and their relevance of the discovery of gravity. It is explained further that these scientists operated in a framework of philosophical thought, religion and spirituality, the relationship with which lies in this work. As for Nagaarum, this is a solo project from Hungary, and almost unbelievably his fifteenth album since 2011. We are told to expect “experimental ambient metal with progressive and drone elements” to go with “the scientific inner narrative”.
The scene is set. A constant industrial sound can be heard to the accompaniment of a wavy cosmic drone. This is part of the spiritual birth. Nagaarum summarises his interest as “psychedelia in a cosmic forest”. Broadly it’s four and a half minutes of nothing, so I was looking for more. What comes is an unhinged vocal on a doom base. The vocal has melancholy as you’d expect in this setting. A spoken voice makes pronouncements in what seems to be endless space, before it breaks out into cosmic, dynamic musical experimentalism. That was “Isaac”. Dark cosmic forces bestow themselves upon us under the title “Celestial Mechanism”. We then go off into … well, nightmarish cosmic chaos, really. It’s deep, dark and intense. “Mr Newton, you shall be no scientist as long as I’m here”, announces a sinister voice. This is “Robert”, presumably the philosopher, architect and scientist Robert Hooke. A volley of fuzzy black metal breaks out, eventually giving way to those cosmic waves and then an obscure soundscape replete with the shuffling of feet, twangs and more waves. So ends the “Spiritual Birth” section.
“I know that I know … I am the one to solve it”, speaks the voice. Well I certainly don’t know but we continue this journey with the dark gloom of “Nullius in Verba” at the start of the “Become a Savant Section”. We float about in space. The drone resounds. After four and a half minutes of nothing really, “Edmond” begins with an angelic female voice before a crusty, sludgy instrumental line joins her. Surprisingly the atmosphere heightens, and it becomes tense and even epic. We then return to the harsh cosmic world for “Revelations”. What follows is still more obscure and intense. A harmonica-like sound and a heavy, dull, progression without pattern are my impressions of “New Tone”. The whole soundscape seems to get more and more warped and psychedelic, like a frantic journey through someone’s confused consciousness. That consciousness is captured in “Modern History”, which ends with another spoken part reflecting Newton’s prediction of the Apocalypse descending in the year 2060. Unsurprisingly what is left is cosmic gloom in the form of “Royal Society”. To the accompaniment of strange yet familiar sounds and echoes, we sail away into the ether. Fittingly the album ends with a near quote from the film 2001: A Space Odyssey”
I admired the experimental creativity of this work but whilst understanding this is a themed work and not an action adventure, I found there was too much contemplation time, which equated to nothing. “Apples” is too obscure to be comprehensible, is hard to digest and is a difficult album to enjoy or appreciate.
(6/10 Andrew Doherty)