Album Review: Apparition – Disgraced Emanations From A Tranquil State

Album Review: Apparition - Disgraced Emanations From A Tranquil State
Reviewed by Sam Jones

Apparition are one of the many bands part of the new wave of US death metal occurring right now, and here they’re set to unveil their newest album with the illustrious titled Disgraced Emanations From A Tranquil State. Formed only a short while ago, out of California, United States, each of Apparition’s releases have been considerably positive for the band. Their first EP, Subarachnoid Space, released in 2019, made enough of an impact for their 2020 EP, Granular Transformation, to be picked up by Profound Lore Records. It’s the record deal that saw them unleash their debut album, Feel, in 2021 and now, three years on, the band are set to release their sophomore record. Penned in for a March 22nd release date, Apparition are poised to return us to crushing death/doom once more and I personally couldn’t wait to dive straight back in.

Apparition immediately get into the swing of things. There’s no countdown or preparation or holding your hand before the full brunt of their performance hits you; as if there’s been no time between now and their last record, Apparition fling you straight into the mess of it all with static looming over you and a guitar attack that’s simultaneously crushing and projecting. Whilst the band evidently harness a great degree of atmosphere and weight behind their sound, Apparition don’t give you the luxury of sitting amidst their soundscape comfortably since their songwriting always feels like it’s pushing you unto the end of whatever piece you’re listening to in the present. This is death/doom metal that doesn’t shy away from giving you a more volatile experience and it makes one all the more curious, seeing as there are just six tracks in total. In a way, it makes senses as per their direction seeing as the band don’t have an utter plethora of material to engross you; they need to get you on board with their sound as quickly as possible. Thankfully, that really doesn’t take long.

What I will give Apparition credit for is their implementation of riff development whereby there will be instances, throughout a single track sometimes, where the riff evolves into something more akin to a sorrowful dirge or an atmospheric deluge. There are even segments where the guitar work assumes a more eldritch and incomprehensible vibe as notes and chords fly off to and fro, crafting a rather Lovecraftian soundscape. Though the band make no mistake as to what kind of metal they play, they make it clear there’s more to this record than just another conventional death/doom soundscape; there’s often a little more going into their songwriting than just crushing tone alone. But I think these moments only feel so impactful due to the tonally total assault the guitar work harnesses. The riffs herein aren’t merely heavy, but there’s an acute grit applied to their playing that intensifies their malice. So, while they bring a weight with their sound, Apparition arguably intensify the power they bring since the riffs have another dimension added to them than just mere tone alone.

Album Review: Apparition - Disgraced Emanations From A Tranquil State

As aforementioned, Apparition’s new record only sports six tracks and thus they’re looking to engage you from the first instance. But because there’s only a limited number of tracks, it results in longer timespans per song. This can be an Achilles Heel for some bands of this calibre, yet Apparition are truly at home with this approach to death/doom as, while they bring the power in their songwriting through riffs or drumming or vocals, they thoroughly understand the necessity for writing music that’s more than what people naturally expect. It’s why their application of slower and faster sequences together mesh so organically; each variation of tempo complements the other, breaking up what could be an otherwise stagnant flow. People need more than a single pacing in a record like this and I’m glad Apparition, if anything, have actually improved somewhat on this notion. There are tracks eight minutes long here but nowhere did I feel worn down by the band’s merciless attack.

I personally feel the vocals, just as much as the drums, are the record’s best method at producing the pace the band are setting for their audience. Whilst the songwriting and instrumentation is a vast indication of how fast a band is perceived as playing, the vocals do a stellar job at giving us an idea for how fast or slow we should see the band as. In addition, the vocal delivery is guttural levels of deep where there’s little hope of making out any coherent syllable uttered but, like many death/doom records, that’s arguably the point. The vocals are utilised as any riff or drum pattern would be, to immerse us within this cacophonous nightmare. Plus, the delivery isn’t constantly thrown in our face; the vocals are nice and present but there are many instances where they’ll fall back and let the riffs do the talking. It’s this dual approach to pacing that ensures the audience never grows tired of Apparition’s performance since one element will naturally fall back to let the other take their place and then vice-versa. It really is a team effort, and just goes to show the organic nature this band operates with.

In conclusion, Apparition only continue to improve upon what was already a winning formula for their death/doom style. The band’s songwriting is excellent as they’re able to blend faster and doomier segments together seamlessly, whilst also injecting their own identity through these more intricate, developed riff pieces. It’s not just crushing depths and tone and the band do benefit from that, there’s far more happening here than one may initially think as you can’t just throw a succession of seven to eight minute songs, one after another, at the audience and expect them to just fall over backwards for you. Herein, Apparition earn their audiences’ engagement with a record that’s bound to appeal to familiar listeners as well as newcomers alike. Having reviewed their first album some years ago, Disgraced Emanations From A Tranquil State is not merely another death/doom record, but a shining example of it done right. It’s easily the band’s best work to date.

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