Rapheumets Well - Enders DoorDespite hailing from an English-speaking part of the world, Rapheumets Well and their third full-length, Enders Door, immediately triggered me with their flagrant disregard for apostrophes. It was this distress which drew my eye to these North Carolinians as I cursorily browsed the promo bin. Alarm bells immediately rang but this is much better than the ambivalence I usually enjoy while surveying upcoming releases. I had something to think about which at least gave them a foot in my active consideration. They say you can learn much about a man by his opinions on punctuation but before you all remove your clothes in your excitement, allow me a few minutes to evaluate the actual album.

Enders Door splits its time between the cosmic technical death metal of The Faceless and the symphonic extreme metal of Septicflesh. The former aspect manifests through spacey synths and the record’s subject matter: Rapheumets Well itself is a reference to gravity wells while the overarching plot tracks a multi-dimensional deity who toys with portals and travelers between said dimensions. Fulfilling this influence, the music is fast, modern in tone and densely packed into a severely limited dynamic range. The latter aspect facilitates a wide range of orchestral instrumentation. As is typical of symphonic metal this is most commonly strings and a backing choir, but also brandished are pianos, organs, horns and female cleans which veer close to operatic. Despite the range of heavy and light influences, Enders Door is disappointingly brickwalled as no instrument or melodic line has the space required to be fully appreciated. Worse is that the electric guitars are buried too deep beneath the classical elements such that it’s often difficult to pick out the riffs.

Where they’re actually audible, some of these riffs are quite cool. The groovy guitar and effective counter-pointing orchestral melody from about 3:20 on during “The Autogenous Extinction” is easily the best passage on the record, especially as this riff is succeeded by one of the few solos which aren’t needlessly masturbatory. It uses melody above simple speed and technicality which works in its favor. The riff opening “Killing the Colossus” fuses regular power chords with tremolo-picking in a badass way and the relative dearth of symphonic adornments at 3:55 allows a meaty guitar lead to stomp everywhere. “Enders Door” and “The Diminished Strategist” both lead with riffs which are immediate and battering; such directness is a boon to a heavy album.

I must now, unfortunately, progress to the remainder of Enders Door. It’s fairly damning when I question the purpose of many passages beyond these aforementioned highlights. Additional music on an album justifies itself by offering something new or by executing the same strategy well. I would argue that “The Traveler,” “Distress on the Aberrant Planet,” “Secrets of the Demigods” and “Ghost Walkers Exodus” all do neither. They’re dreary examples of technical extreme metal with little to no redeeming qualities. They’re blasting and quick but not visceral and consequently leave no mark on me. When I say I prefer music that’s emotive I don’t mean it has to be melancholic or triumphant; anger and vitriol are entirely valid responses to heavier stuff. But I lack any sort of attachment to most of Enders Door. The piano-led interlude on “Eishar’s Lament” is the only track that exercises my emotions, but this only accentuates my detachment elsewhere.

Rapheumets Well 2017

Have you noticed that I’ve referenced nine songs without repeating myself? That’s quite a few you’re probably thinking. And yet a further four fill out the record’s 63 minutes. This is a clear breach of my rule that the faster and more brutal the material, the shorter the album should be. This volume of technical death metal is simply excessive when much of it doesn’t positively contribute to the listening experience. While there are three interludes, or at least quasi-interludes, to break apart the aggression, they’re all on the back half which makes me question their spacing. And those four particularly weak tracks I mentioned earlier? Three sit close to the opening which ensures that embarking on this multi-dimensional journey is a real struggle.

Enders Door isn’t hatefully awful but there are so many niggling flaws I could describe at length that I can only recommend that you actively avoid it. I’m saddened to reveal that the dearth of apostrophes was only the beginning of my troubled relationship with Rapheumets Well. You may now continue to disrobe to hear more about my views on punctuation but I hope your excitement isn’t quelled by Enders Door. Mine certainly is.


Rating: 1.5/5.0
DR: 5 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps MP3
Label: Test Your Metal Records
Websites: facebook.com/rapheumetswell
Releases worldwide: May 26th, 2017

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  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    you know you are in for a bad time when The Faceless and SepticFlesh get mentioned in the same review

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      This actually sounds like two different records being played at once… sometimes they even sync up!

      • El_Cuervo

        This is a good criticism

      • [not a Dr]

        Didn’t Neurosis have 2 albums that had to be played like that?

        • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

          Yes, there were meant that way… But in this case, I mean two different random records.

          • Joshua Ward

            I agree! I heard (of course purely speculation) that the guitarist bought a “Journey” album and a “Tears for Fears” album and did a rap-off at the local VFW in which, during the heat of the battle the music underwent a auditory metamorphosis. Thus was created the duality of notes which is…you know….the two album…..thingy you were talking about.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            We might be talking about 3 albums then, because I’m sure there was a The Faceless album involved.

    • James M. Peterson

      Au contraire

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Flagrant disregard for apostrophes shall not be tolerated!!!!!
    Neither will flagrant abuse of exclamation marks!!!

    • rumour_control

      No love for Finnegans Wake, eh? ;-)

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        I don’t like either when people use punctuation marks to draw faces… ;-)

        • rumour_control

          Agreed. Its done. No more emojis!!!!!:-|

        • As writing like this lack the body language to go with the words, a ;) or :P can go a long way in telling that “Hey, I’m just pulling your leg with a bit of tongue in cheek”. But overly used, :) can :) be :) awful :)

      • Wes Allen

        Few are as metal as James Joyce. Glad to see his work mentioned!

        • rumour_control

          In the name of Annah the Allmaziful, the Everliving, the Bringer of Plurabilities, haloed be her eve, her singtime sung, her rill be run, unhemmed as it is uneven!

      • James M. Peterson

        Finnegans Wake is fucking badass and inspiring tbh

    • rumour_control

      !!!!!!!(?!)!

      • You wot m8?

        You’ve forgotten the obligatory 1, to be placed within the tranqil sea of gently waving exclaimation points.

        • rumour_control

          Indeed!!!!!1!!!!!

    • Hah, I actually just published a few words on the band “Wolves Den” on No Clean Singing, where I finished off with these words:

      “Orthography-apostles, linguistic warriors, and other grammatical pedants will froth at the mouth as Munich’s wolves have omitted the mandatory apostrophe. Let them split all the hair they want”.

      • Thatguy

        Yeah, fuck apostrophes. No-one under the age of 30 knows how to use them anyway – you young people!

        However, the fact that we are contemplating this on a metal review site shows how wrong Dead 1 was here yesterday, and at great and boring length on Metal-Fi yesterday, in his argument that metalheads are just about all sub-literate boozers.

        And this music is a ripe 1.5.

        • I’m way older than 30. It still ain’t too long since I decided to teach myself how apostrophes work, but that’s because we don’t use them in Norway. If I’m going to write English, I might as well attempt at getting it somewhat right.

          True. Someone once said something in line with “the smartest people I ever met, where metalheads. And so where the stupidest”.

          • Thatguy

            Well done. As a native speaker also way older than 30 I know how to use them, but really who needs them?

            And there is room for all at the well of metal.

          • Nukenado

            Apostrophes are more useful than articles in my opinion. Having Mandarin as a first language, articles seem needlessly complicated to me in English. They don’t even have the purpose of replacing the nouns like in Spanish.
            Apostrophes at least enable words to be shortened and makes pronouncing things a lot easier (especially foreign words, “Tian’anmen Square” would probably screw more people up without that apostrophe.)

          • Thatguy

            Nah, fuck ’em.

          • Nukenado

            ‘Kay.

          • [not a Dr]

            No one should like apostrophes THAT much…

          • Thatguy

            Ha.

          • Mollusc

            Maybe it’s a place name and the ending ‘s’ doesn’t signify ownership as such… The stupidest people I’ve met (including the lowlife neighbour who threatened me last night) seem to like 90s RnB!

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            Well, Metal goes from Jungle Rot to Obscura and that’s only talking Death Metal, so Metal sure covers the range from smartest to stupidest. And closing the circle: the stupid ones who believe they’re really smart.

          • I gett wott your’e seying, for I are rially wery smArt

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            I see you’re smart with a capital A! ;)

        • I like booze.

          • Thatguy

            Ha. Don’t we all.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            He meant Metalheads are very literate boozers.

      • rumour_control

        You had me at ‘Orthography-apostles’.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        It must be really hard to split hairs with apostrophes…

        • You don’t know till you tried. They look somewhat sharp, but maybe not sharp enough. If you have enough apostrophes attached to a handle, you could probably groom hair.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            Enough apostrophes attached to a handle… that would be a comb, you’re onto something here! ;)

    • Nukenado

      Better than spelling errors.
      Mercyful Fate still bugs me to this day.
      There’s no band called Merciful Fate… So why?

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        I am OK with Creator spelled with a “K” yet seeing corn spelled with a “K” makes me wanna puke. Why? I love Kreator and don’t care for Korn. Yeah, I’m like that.

        • Nukenado

          Kreator doesn’t bother me because it’s because K is kvlt.
          I don’t think a common spelling error is kvlt though…

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            Well, if they did it on purpose it’s not an error, right? Yet it could be actually an error and they can claim it was on purpose afterwards, so who knows?
            I learnt my English from listening to Metal, so Mercyful Fate doesn’t bother me, in fact the correct spelling looks odd to me and I always have to check twice when I write “merciful” to make sure I don’t write “mercyful”.

          • Nukenado

            Hah, I can see that happening.
            What I mean is that changing the “i” to “y” isn’t a really stylistic choice in my opinion… It’s something that a lot of people misspell. It might have been intentional, but I see no stylistic reason why.
            BTW, if you learned English from metal, than you listened to some serious vocabulary-heavy metal. Your English is way better than a lot of native speakers I know.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            Well, I learned my English form MEtallica, Iron Maiden and even Motley Crue… also from reading MEtal Maniacs magazine. I use to sit with the lyrics sheet and a good old English-Spanish dictionary and translate the lyrics of my favorite songs. That was way before the internet existed.

          • I met a young Spaniard (in his 20’s) some ten years or so ago, and it was hopeless to communicate with him as his English simply sucked. Lots of European countries where they dub movies still have young people who’s poor at speaking English. Is this still the case in Espain, or have things improved with the internet?

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            I could not tell you how English-learning is going in Spain, because I am not a Spaniard, I am a Venezuelan and I live in Venezuela. But I can tell you one thing regarding dubbing movies vs subtitling them: it sucks. Luckily, here in Venezuela movies are subtitled. And I can tell you another thing regarding dubbing movies vs subtitling them: it doesn’t make a difference with regards to people learning English.

          • Nukenado

            Speaking of dubbed movies…
            Musicals are the worst. I once sat through a dubbed Chinese version of Disney’s Frozen with my younger siblings. I’ve never touched anything dubbed since.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            Disney is really good with dubbing their songs for the Latin American market. On the other hand, I once saw the first Star Wars movie dubbed in Spaniard Spanish… Holy shit, that was bad. All I kept thinking about during the whole movie was: that’s not Darth Vader’s accent! Darth Vader is not a Spaniard!

          • Nukenado

            Oh god, I can see (hear?) what would happen.

          • [not a Dr]

            When Anakin became Darth Vader, he also became a Space-British.

          • Back in the 80’s, as a kid I picked up a lot of English by watching undubbed cartoons on British Sky Channel. I for one believe that watching English series, films and programs has had an impact on my vocabulary, but it’s not like I have scientific evidence. I sure have picked up quite a bit through metal and elsewhere too.

          • Nukenado

            Wow. Dedication man.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            Dedication is what it takes to learn anything. Yet, to be honest, I had lots of fun learning English.

          • Merciful just looks like the French version of thankful.

          • Nukenado

            That’s just how English works I guess.
            (Doesn’t know enough French to make a clever reply.)

        • C is a stupid redundant letter anyway. As is Q and Z. Omitting Æ, Ø and Å however, is unforgivable.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            I am a firm believer that the biggest reason for the decline of Human civilization is the disregard for the letter Æ. Thankfully Ævangelist is out to fix the issue.

        • John Mosley

          There was a Colonel Korn in the novel Catch 22. I always wondered if this inspired the band name, and why the reference.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            How lame would it be if the guy was called Kolonel Korn, huh?

  • Grymm

    The video is giving me some bad motion sickness. All for a song that’s remarkably meh.

    • El_Cuervo

      I hadn’t even noticed that, it’s pretty nifty.

  • Brent Johnson

    I!Had!Some!Hope!When!Saw!The!Faceless!Referenced!Bummer!

  • Oh God, that “snare”…
    edit:
    at 3:35 I’ve realised that kick tone is even worse.

  • I think a 1.5 is probably fair in this case. The album cover and band photo also scream 1.5. I do think there is some potential here, but the production is an absolute mess. It’s difficult music to describe because it’s so hard to identify individual elements in the mush.

  • Zach Ward

    I’ve heard these guys before and was quite interested, but could never get into em. I enjoy the symphonic tech death mix and if done well is fucking awesome. I recommend all to listen to Irreversible Mechanism as they do what Rapheumets Well tries to do much better. At least to me.

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      If you want Symphonic Tech Death done right, try Fleshgod Apocalypse.

      • Zach Ward

        They’re great, but everyone knows them tho. Also Agony, and Labyrinth are mediocre.

        • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

          How can they be great if half their discography is mediocre?

          • Zach Ward

            Cause Oracles, Mafia and King are all top tier stuff. So when they make music that ain’t mediocre they’re great. Hence why they’re great. (This was a shit explanation. My apologies good sir, you deserved better.)

    • James M. Peterson

      Agreed about Irreversible Mechanism except for your use of the word “much.” More like “A bit”

    • James M. Peterson

      Also hi Zach :) go look at my rant I posted lmao. And I REALLY appreciate you giving these guys a fair try my friend!!

      • Zach Ward

        Eyy, ya I saw it, Understandable tho, I know how much of a fan ya are of these dudes and seeing everyone hating it makes your rant sense but hey, different strokes for different folks (Also there are like 20 reviewers on this site, each with different opinions, so you’ll see some stuff you disagree with. They gave boats of the Glen Carrig a 3.0 >:( so it’ll happen). But I would highly recommend you keep reading this site, it’s pretty much the sole reason I discover any great new bands, plus the community is amazing. Easily my favorite metal site.

        • James M. Peterson

          Oooooooooh that’s a super plebby review score hahaha
          Oh don’t get me wrong I love this site! This review just gave me a rash

  • Planex

    I’ve been trying to get into more new tech-death lately, especially after I found that First Fragment album from last year. Shame about this one.

    • James M. Peterson

      I presume you’re saying this after having given it at least a small try and not just reading the review? At least give the first half of “The Diminished Stratagest” a shot. That’s by far my favorite tech/prog death section from this year so far. I really want my boi Hunter to write more Omnivium/BC/Gorod/Necro/etc inspired stuff like that for the band moving forward with them dank cocaine level addictive melodies

  • Westpaceagle

    Maybe it’s missing a coma, like

    Rapheumets, well….

    • Nag Dammit

      And a question mark at the end to infer someone is enquiring after raphumets health.

  • AndySynn

    Hot take time, but… I’m starting to think that 90% of all “symphonic” Metal is about as substantial as your average Michael Bay film.

    Sure it’s loud and overblown and often plays well to the cheap seats, but mostly it’s all style and no substance (and, yes, I am counting both Septic Flesh and Fleshgod in that assessment… though the latter nowhere near as much), and generally has more of a numbing effect, rather than an invigorating one.

    • rumour_control

      Well said. On a different track, Metallica underlined this marital problem long ago. Going even further back, Page and Plant executed one of the rare tasteful fusions of rock, not to mention metal, with brass-and-wood paraphernalia. Songs, mang. Need to be the root within the epic tree.

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Over 48 years later and still anyone trying to mix Symphonic with Rock or Metal should go read the liner notes by Jon Lord for Deep Purple’s “Concerto for Group and Orchestra”. Listening to it won’t hurt either.

  • Reese Burns

    That band photo screams “edgy nu metal”, wouldn’t have expected “limp-wristed symphonic death metal” based on that.

  • Really difficult to listen to due to the sketchy production. Sounds like it was recorded in a bucket. The balance of instruments/orchestra/vocals/choir seem way off.

    And the cover art looks like it was rejected from a prior Symphony X release.

  • Joshua Ward

    Wow! Thank you…i think ha ha!!!

    • James M. Peterson

      Hey bro it’s still publicity in any case! haha

  • James M. Peterson

    ““Enders Door” and “The Diminished Strategist” both lead with riffs which are immediate and battering; such directness is a boon to a heavy album.” Welp at least you had nice things to say about my favorite songs (as of right now) from…. damn near my favorite album of this year haha
    RIP

    But in reality you don’t understand the purpose of this band. Every note, every musical passage serves purpose. Your “rule” of “it should be short if it’s more brutal” doesn’t apply to this group of people that you don’t know, and also didn’t bother to look up what the album was actually about before you tried describing the lyrical material. You merely described the source of the band’s name, which doesn’t directly tie into the plot of this chapter in their discography. Josh and co. don’t write a musical segment unless it goes along with their story, which when you get down to the details of the universe they’ve crafted, is far more elaborate than all 3 albums combined. The whole point of Rapheumet’s Well is word painting in the classical sense, and I think they do this marvelously.

    I also find almost all of the songs on here to be highly visceral and emotive. And I latched onto every song from barely more than a single listen and now know most of them by heart so…

    That being said… I suppose this doesn’t need saying but to anyone out there reading this this obviously isn’t an objectively bad album. It isn’t an objective masterwork of the style either. That’s just what AMG and me think, respectively. Definitely click that Ghost Walker’s Exodus embedded vid and come to your own conclusion. Always be willing to give music you’ve never heard at least a small try regardless of what anyone has to say about it. I’d love to discuss this music further with anyone that’s listened that wants to reply to this comment.

    I just… find it so neat tbh that you worship one of my two favorite bands from the US (Wilderun) and think the other is bad (Rapheumet’s)

    #ExcitementNotQuelled