"Of Woe and Wounds"

By Dr. Abner Mality

This Indianapolis band cements their position as one of America's best doom metal bands with "Of Woe and Wounds". This is one of those "pure" albums that is all too rare today. You hear it and you know immediately "this is doom". And they do it without sounding like just another clone band out to imitate Sabbath or Candlemass. That's a hard thing to do these days. Think of that Swedish band Below who recently released an album that was nothing but utter Candlemass worship. Apostle of Solitude obviously owe a debt to Candlemass but they pay it by not sounding like a complete knock-off.

There's some gorgeously heavy and morose music on display here.  "Blackest of Times" and "Lamentations of a Broken Man" feature monster riffs that plod with authority while the splendid clean vocals of Chuck Brown unleash sorrowful tales of woe. Sadness streams from these songs without becoming cloying...also a feat. When the band feels like it, they can do something slightly more upbeat and aggressive. "Whore's Wings" is a great example...this has got enough punch to start a mosh pit. "Die, Vicar, Die" combines both true doom and that punchier approach to create pure metal ecstasy. But the best track is left till last with the haunting "Luna", which is heavy and yet ethereal at the same time.

I've seen these guys live twice and they were impressive each time. I'm glad that carries over to their studio work...that is not always the case. It is hard to find a weakness in Apostle of Solitude, from the super booming bass to the meticulous songcraft to the feeling of genuine sorrow that oozes from the music.  Grab this and suffocate under a mountain of DOOM.