Aphotic – Stillness Grows

up_092704_aphoticI guess the real tragedy here is that so many people cop out and compare Aphotic to Opeth when that really couldn’t be farther from the truth. Hell I even did it when I first heard their 2 MCDs earlier in the year (which are both tagged on the end of this album as bonus tracks). Musical evolution shows that the only real comparison to the big O lurks in the power and scope of their songwriting. On their debut full-length “Stillness Grows”, the thick swarm of atmosphere possesses more of a foreboding dark metal vibe ala older Bethlehem and Katatonia musically, though not as droning as my latter comparison may suggest. Passionate clean guitar segments and pitch vocals add a nice contrast when the distortion and simplistic power chord riffs creep in to set a head nodding flow where depression and a woodland atmosphere permeates the listeners thoughts with loneliness. Aphotic further expand upon their sound by skillfully incorporating barren synth lines to act as that extra much needed specter to intensify that 3rd dimension quality to their living sound. This band holds death, dark, doom and black metal in the palm of their hands, fearlessly sculpting elements from all the extreme metal genres to arrive at this somehow soothing piece of work where Chad’s discernable vocals straddle the fence between all the styles. His predominantly mid-ranged snarl fits in perfectly, which makes his cloaked pitch singing that much more powerful when the strong push of the distorted guitars eases off into quieter moments of solitude. Not to sound overly theatrical here, but the bulk of “Stillness Grows” gives me the mental picture of a stream cutting through a frozen landscape. The flow is endless and the eddies lurking below the surface will grab at your life and try to pull you down into the depths. The largely unheard of Aphotic have unearthed a mighty album that really should be heralded at the end of 2004 as one of the years best, most emotive works of metal. – Marty

~ by martyworm on January 2, 2009.

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