APOGEE – From the Shallows of a Consumed Earth EP

French duo, APOGEE, formed in 2021 to indulge their love of black and death metal, but we know little else about them other than their ordinary names (Ron – all instruments; Nathan – lyrics and vocals). They may not sound like satanic corrupters of the world on paper, but they know how to manipulate their bedroom equipment. From the Shallows of a Consumed Earth is a curious affair that will create an appetite for a full-length album.

The first thing you’ll notice about the band’s debut EP is the clear audio mix. Here, the basslines and drum snares connect like freight carriages on the same destination, almost as if they engineered the instrument separation to imitate a pre-programmed sample. You’re right to wonder if we’re listening to a cleaner version of Hellhammer, yet the simple power chord punk is closer to Danzig in texture. Take out the vicious black metal shrieks, and you have something approaching black ‘n’ roll. Or so you think until they break out into a maelstrom of blast beats and tremolo riffs before inserting a tech death groove that early Decapitated colonised in the early 2000s. Mmm. This is unorthodox.

Is it possible to take the filthy dynamics of crust punk and douse them in the disinfectant of death-doom? APOGEE ask the right questions on ‘Brainless People’ with their use of ritualistic tom drums and steel-plated bass notes, and you can even hear Obituary creep through the black metal posturing. There might be some gothic choir samples buried in their Cubase mix, but they leave them dormant when we need them to be dominant. ‘All You Deserve’ does a better job of bringing this aspect to the forefront of the music, although the violent vocal abrasions smash through the decibel levels in defiance of compression.

As a record of six songs, From the Shallows of a Consumed Earth lacks nothing in ambition, but you feel that APOGEE are still searching for their sound. ‘Enslavement’ wanders into a blackened thrash direction, while closing track, ‘F.A.I.L.’, leaves it late to experiment with dissonant chords. The latter will surprise you even more with its sudden infusion of ascending scale patterns when you least expect a technical solo. This unpredictability is more exciting than frustrating, and it’s clear the next record will be the one that brings their bristling ideas together into a coherent body of work.

APOGEE may be bedroom musicians for now, but they ooze potential and show a competent level of song writing. Perhaps they can learn how to break their recording software to get the most out of it on the next release.



Release Date: 05/03/2022

Record Label: Self Released

Standout tracks: Cradle Full of Scum, Brainless People, F.A.I.L.

Suggested Further Listening: Wolfbastard – Hammer the Bastards (2022), Danzig – Danzig (1988), Celtic Frost – Morbid Tales (1984)