Apothecary is definitely not boring. This quartet from Conway, AR (USA) started in 2012 and have been making a name for themselves in the local scene. After releasing a first demo earlier, these doom mongers have unleashed a damn good album that gets better by the minute and continues to improve listen after listen. It's a bit like a deep red wine of which the raw, woody, taste sticks in your mouth and slowly warms your body. Or maybe I'm just thirsty.
These Americans actually prove why doom metal is not boring. Besides the vintage riffing and typical pounding drums, they incorporate elements from post-rock, post-hardcore and sludge into their music. Yet, they still manage to create a bleak, desolate atmosphere, somehow reminding me of old Candlelight bands. The vocals show the same urge for variation, ranging from deep death growls over insane screams towards pretty high pitched clean vocals that remind me of Candlemass.
I mentioned earlier that this album grows and gets better with each track. This is a pretty odd aspect of this album and it's not even because opener 'Fortune Doesn't Smile On The Damned' is a one-sided song, no. This is a damn good doom song, bringing back the doom sound of the eighties. Gradually in the album however, these other elements come in. In 'No Void To Feed On' this results in an intense musical monster, crushing everything in sight.
So no, the wine-reference wasn't a coincidence. Good wine needs to ripe and mature, just like this album does. Let me rephrase that in a brutally honest way. At first I thought "oh, another doom metal album driving on heavy riffs and whiskey". By the end of the album I thought "damn, this is good". I've rarely heard this amount of variation on an album that drives mostly on one tempo and that's quite amazing.
Let's end this review by mentioning that, in some way, Apothecary was absolutely right to name this album 'Drifting Towards the Ancients'. They seem to be influenced by most of the 'Ancients' like Black Sabbath, Candlemass, Winter and Saint Vitus but they also love to dwell in their own down-tuned, faineant sound. This is just a pretty stunning album that will find my media player a lot in the near future...