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Thursday, January 4, 2018

Review: Apocalypse Orchestra - The End Is Nigh


Scottish bagpipes, heavy guitars and bombastic drums. This is the beginning of the album The End Is Nigh from Apocalypse Orchestra. The opening song The Garden of Earthly Delights immediately has that Viking feeling to it. After an instrumental intro of almost 3 minutes, the low male vocals kick in. This is a pattern on the rest of the album as well. The music of Apocalypse Orchestra is for the most part instrumental. Long heavy guitar strokes, tight drums that support it all and the low orchestral male vocals I spoke of earlier. This, in combination with some folk influences turn every song on this album into a truly epic masterpiece. Yes, you can say that, because every song lasts at least seven minutes. Instrumentally the songs are very similar to one another. But does the album have enough versatility? It sure does! In the second song Pyre you can hear that there is a completely different atmosphere, it is very threatening compared to the more folky feeling of the first song. This is mainly due to the fact that for the first time you can hear grunts. Each song on this album stands on its own and is a different chapter in the story that is being told. Musically every song brings something new to the table as well, but as a reviewer it is difficult to describe what this is for each song individually because it mainly has to do with the feeling of a song, rather than that the song is significantly different than its predecessor. Over the course of the album a story is being told about warriors preparing themselves for the end of all time, the apocalypse. Hence the name of the album The End Is Nigh. To tell a great story you need a good atmosphere. And by adding instruments such as the Scottish bagpipes and the hurdy-gurdy, you immediately think you’re on the battlefield yourself when listening to this album. In the song Theatre Of War a calm male voice narrates from a bird perspective about how everybody is going to battle. In this moment you’re being pulled away from all the direct violence and mayhem. It is a light calm moment in an otherwise dark and melancholic album. This song, that is roughly in the middle of the track list, really is a great intermezzo that can help you catch some air before delving right into the battle again!

The song To Embark serves as a small intermezzo preparing you for the epic closing song Here Be Monsters. In this last song the grunts can be heard again. It is a bombastic closer of a heavy and good album! Like I said earlier, I think that every song is a bit similar to one another. However, that didn’t stop me from completely immersing myself in the world that Apocalypse Orchestra has created, all that is needed is just a little bit of fantasy! They really have outdone themselves creating the wonderful atmospheric tunes about death and decay without neglecting to be stylish about it. If you like metal with an atmospheric ambience, without it being really heavy or technical and are you just as big a fan of Vikings, mythical creatures and other fantasy elements as I am and do you like the sound of Scottish bagpipes and the hurdy-gurdy? Then I would really recommend listening to The End Is Nigh by Apocalypse Orchestra. This is a band of which I hope to hear a lot about in the future. Count me in as a fan! However, I have to say that this kind of music has to suit you. It just isn’t made for everybody.

Written by Glenn van der Heijden

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