Released: 2017, M-Theory Audio
Reviewer: Peter Atkinson
“Sensory Overload” is certainly an apt description not only for the opening track of the second full-length from California's Apothesary – and first in five years - but the album as a whole and, indeed, the band's musical approach/philosophy. Accept Loss Forever is an all-over-the-map mishmash of elements, metallic or otherwise - as evidenced by flamenco guitar and free-jazz forays, etc. – that manages to just barely stay on course as it constantly aims to hurtle out of control.
“Overload” offers hints of Lamb Of God-like thrash, Slipknot's tandem vocal nu/industrial metal and System Of A Down's eccentricity, some manic hardcore punk riffing and tech-death flourishes - all within the song's first minute! The aforementioned jazzy freakout appears near the two-minute mark, followed not long thereafter by a crunching metalcore breakdown and a stretch of doom-death slog. It pretty much encapsulates in one song what the band intend to fling at you the rest way.
But, fortunately, what follows is not quite a chaotic and schizophrenic, as the band jumps from style to style with each song instead of all at once. “Two Minute Hate” is essentially a literal take on its title, barreling along with death metal fury and venom for 2:11, whereas “1976” is somewhat standard tech-death – though with the Spanish guitar aside mentioned above, and some wild dueling guitar leads from Clayton Cagle, also of re-thrashers Hatchet, and frontman Jared Eandi.
The 1:21 title track opens with grindcore mania and ends with hardcore bluster. “Making Up For Lost Time,” meantime, seems something of an interlude, its sparse instrumentation topped by a cynical voice-over about how America has gone to shit. Thanks for the reminder!
“You've Met With A Terrible Fate” revisits Lamb of God's modern metal but gives it an infusion of vintage In Flames melody and technicality, whereas the epic “Knight” offers clean vocal tradeoffs, piano and power ballad-like scale – and more great soloing - to provide the album with its most listener friendly tracks.
Ironically, despite its title – which steals from a classic South Park episode - “Woodland Critter Christmas” is all-business tech-death/deathcore bludgeon. Ditto “Eventide” and the monumental closing track “Expressionless Me” - though with more emphasis on dexterity and less on brutality. Indeed, the album finishes up with the band's most stylistically consistent stretch, so hats off to whoever did the sequencing.
Still, Accept Loss Forever is quite a showcase of Apothesary's versatility and range. And while it feels a bit unfocused and reckless at times as it hopscotches about, there's something to be said for its unpredictability and daring.