This band seems to be into causes, among them environmentalism, anarchism and veganism. Formerly called Thränenkind, King Apathy’s new name makes “a statement about modern life on this planet”. They play in an amalgam of styles and I was informed I have to listen to this several times for its secrets to be revealed. I could have worked that out, and I’m sure it’s well intentioned but thanks for the instruction.
“Civilisation Kills” is the opener and sets the musical and thematic scene. The suggestion is of hard-edged post metal. So it continues with the harsh atmospheric black metal piece “The Scars of the Land”. A pleasant quiet section moves in, and there is a post-rock ring. If the theme is heavy, it’s evident the music is well constructed as the track reverts fluidly to ferociously morose black metal. Morose aptly describes the mood as we progress to the ominously titled “Cleansing” and then “Great Depression”. As ever it’s that mix of harsh melancholy and melodious black metal. I’m faintly reminded of Cult of Luna but this has a more earthly nature. “The Great Depression” breaks out of its predictable shell momentarily, but essentially sounds linger and enhance the foggy gloom of the music. Aye, it’s a grim world to be sure, and King Apathy’s technique draws a consistent line between doom, post metal and black metal to deliver power and impact.
The very title “Revelation Time” might suggest some respite from the doom and gloom, but no. It sets off on a typically downtrodden path. But as ever its structure is strong. It’s actually the following track “He Missed The Stars” which raises the tempo. There’s even a kind of hardcore angst in it. This made a welcome change. I had started to lose sight of the whole concept and life in general in the remorseless gloom, waking up occasionally to appreciate the emotive post metal strength. This was a pity, as “Our life is drowning in its blackness” screams the vocalist on the decidedly post metal “Reverence”. Its spoken part reinforces the pessimism. It’s a world without solutions, and why anyone would think it’s a good idea to ram this down our throats, I don’t know. And it detracts from the undoubted magnificence of the playing style. King Apathy may be very worthy people but they have put themselves in a straitjacket here. The shortish title track plods on, Cult of Luna style, and is a fine, if not exhilarating piece of music. “Earthmother Rising” has a shoegaze about it, and we are let to ponder the hopelessness of everything as an expanse of sounds rise up and surround us. But don’t worry, it gets more melancholic still as a delicate passage encroaches on the song before slowly and pompously climbing again towards the summit of Mount Gloom.
Clearly there are statements being made here. Whilst happy sounds would not be appropriate, I fear that King Apathy are being too serious for their own good. This reflects in the style. Are their messages really best conveyed through largely unremittingly suicidal and miserable metal? Black and post metal can have personality, quirkiness and originality, you know This band has much more to offer, and it’s true that you have to dig a bit to find it. Technically this is solid and King Apathy admirably stick to their plan, resulting is something that is not exciting but impressively dark.
(7.5/10 Andrew Doherty)