Apostle of Solitude – When the Darkness Goes Review

A model of consistency, Indianapolis doom quartet Apostle of Solitude1 return with their sixth album, When the Darkness Goes. Staying on schedule of an album roughly every four years, this one follows 2018’s strong release From Gold to Ash, reviewed right here. The lineup remains the same, as does the style. The quality of the band’s output has been slowly improving through each release, to the point that From Gold to Ash saw a decent amount of playing time here. Now, during a time when the band’s name is perhaps more fitting than ever, can they maintain that forward momentum?

If “When the Darkness Comes,” the lead track, is any indication, then yes. It opens the album with a towering riff, ponderous rhythm, and the haunting, gloomy vocal pairing of Chuck Brown and Steve Janiak that we’ve come to expect. As the tempo drags and a second riff takes over just past the midway point it’s as if a wave of despair is washing over us. If one thought of a cross between Monolord and Pallbearer, that wouldn’t be too far off; the guitar tones are so thick and juicy, the vocals so morose, that it’s easy to just sink into an overstuffed chair and become immersed in the proceedings. Similarly, “Deeper Than the Oceans” presents us with another excellent riff, but also with a clean opening guitar melody, a charismatic classic rock guitar solo, and the album’s finest overall arrangement.

Like many of us, the last couple of years have not been easy on Apostle of Solitude. One member lost both his parents, and this air of tragedy permeates the record. There’s only one instrumental this time around, the gorgeously delicate “Beautifully Dark,” that leads into the glacially-paced closing track, “Relive the Day,” and through both these songs the sense of loss is palpable. Vocal melodies are key to Apostle of Solitude’s style, and the Brown/Janiak harmonies are on point throughout. While a couple of the songs tend to meander a bit too much even for doom metal (I found myself having to rewind a few times, my mind having drifted into other realms), there’s more than enough in this 37-minute offering to keep aficionados coming back for more.

The crystalline production suits the band’s style on When the Darkness Goes. Cymbals sit perfectly in the mix (not like on another album coming next week), the drums snap sharply like they used to in the olden days, and as mentioned the guitar tones are outstanding. Brown especially, but also Janiak, display confidence in their vocals by sitting them atop the mix where they belong. And with relatively succinct arrangements (song lengths max out at 7:15) the band trundles to the point in each song, be it a new riff, verse, or lead break, without missing a step.

Variety is not the spice of life when it comes to doom, but Apostle of Solitude keep things interesting and shifting on When the Darkness Goes. They squeeze every drop of angst out of the handful of riffs here, and the weariness we all feel as we wait for things to get “back to normal” is on dark display. Tighter songwriting and strong performances from all four members result in an album that matches and at times exceeds the quality of From Gold to Ash. Even though Monolord offered us more of the same, and Khemmis may have swung slightly wide of the mark again, doom fans can celebrate, as When the Darkness Goes more than holds its own within the genre’s 2021 output.

Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320kbps mp3
Label: Cruz Del Sur Music
Websites: apostleofsolitude.bandcamp.com | apostleofsolitude.com | facebook.com/apostleofsolitude
Release Worldwide: November 19, 2021

Show 1 footnote

  1. I still believe that should be plural.
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