Released: 2003, Listenable Records
Reviewer: Luxi Lahtinen
Anyone of you remember musically lethal Swedish Death Metal monsters Luciferion who released their debut titled DEMONICATION (THE MANIFEST) album through French Listenable Records 8 years ago in 1995? And you thought it was their first & last album and Luciferion was no more? Well, that´s exactly what I thought anyway, but as the old saying goes: “Never say never...”.
After 8 long years, the mastermind, the creator and the real father of Luciferion, Wojtek Lisicki (ex-Lost Horizon) has composed a follow-up album to Luciferion´s relatively successful debut album, containing 4 new Luciferion songs, BUT not as 7 separate tracks. First off, as for some technical notes, the title track “The Apostate” has been divided into 5 different sub-songs - in the other words the title track itself is nearly 10-min. long, sort of a concept song that contains lots of variable and different moods; from a familiar Deicide/Morbid Angel-type of tempo changes, sharp riffing, deep vocal grunts to more calmer musical waters where slower, keyboard-infested parts have a certain effect to make their sound thicker and richer and that are obviously meant to create deeper atmospheres over the songs more than anything else, too, I suppose.
The title track of the album, “The Apostate” is simply a hell of a piece of art as its own separate thing already off the album indeed! You can pretty much hear from everything that Wojtek has thought out every single detail for this song as such an epic and powerful epos it really is, right from the start to finish. The 1st three parts, “Under the Eyes of Serpents”, “Transcendental Fusion” and “Gods Bring You Away from Yourself”, have all a strong ´deicidesque´ vibe stamped all over them (the LEGION-era mainly, tho.), most of the time showcasing real brutal yet amazingly catchy and sharp guitar works by courtesy of both Wojtek and Michael as the most carrying elements in them, only just proving supposedly Wojtek´s admiration and respect toward a strong sounding band like Deicide somewhat perfectly that have always been the true masters at the thick and powerful riff department. “A Strain from Depths”, the 4th chapter of the song which is a short instrumental part of the great wholeness, works out kind of an intro for the 5rd part, “The Force Dwells Within” that has a very gloomy and dark atmosphere off which should be credited for the use of hauntingly beautiful keyboard parts mostly, I think. Too bad it only lasts under 2 minutes because just when you started to expect that something ´big´ and ´strong´ might grow out the song, it nearly stops almost like against the wall. The last part of the song “The Apostate” is called “And All the Waste Will Fade” and I just need to spit out against Wojtek´s face shamelessly without fearing his wrath a bit: “Quite cleverly done indeed...” Namely it has a real familiar guitar part in the very beginning of the song that leads all the tracks 17 years away from today. Damn you Wojtek, it sounds like he has ´ripped off´ a legendary Floridian Death/Thrash compo Hellwitch´s song “Nosferatu” from their 1st demo TRANSGRESSIVE SENTIENCE that was released in the year of 1986 already...! Or maybe the use of that guitar part it was, however, just purely co-incidental?! But let´s just hide a finger with a “You´re thief”-mark on it for now and forgive him that ´borrowed´ guitar part this time, he-he!! Anyway, the ones who have once become familiar with Hellwitch´s material in the past and have an intention to check out the song I just pointed out here, most probably will agree with my comparison to that particular Hellwitch tune for sure. It´s a pretty inevitable proof of things from the past times that you cannot run away too far without taking something with you if you know what I mean by this? Otherwise, the song turns out to be like a true Death Metal gem as far as its both technical and artistic aspects are concerned.
“Become Or Be Gone” has lots of strong Deicide-type of guitar rhythms and lead works present again most of the time and an unavoidable influence of Morbid Angel can be heard through the song as well. I wish I could spot you that M.A. song that is a reminiscent of some of the guitar riffs on “Become...”, but I have a temporary black-out in my memory, so I cannot do it right now. Wojtek and his band mates, however, prove to be a pretty damn unbeatable match together these days as far as creating memorable and strong Death Metal riffs/rhythms is concerned. There´s just no single doubt about it.
The same goes for “Destroying by the Will” which is probably the devastatingly heaviest and fastest number off THE APOSTATE. Occasionally Wojtek´s vocal grunts even have this strange tendency to remind me of David Vincent´s vocal outbursts; the tone of his voice has something similar to David´s, but I´ll leave this up to a listener to judge.
The closer track on the album, “New World to See” rips through the album equally as strongly and effortlessly with the other songs, winning probably a few more pairs of ears by being the most melodic song off the whole album even if the song is again built around extremely heavy and punishing riff – and rhythm sections that are just crushing, grinding and just about everything you can hope for a real mind-sticking and catchy Death Metal tune.
In summa summarum, all the new material on THE APOSTATE should fulfill ever single expectation of every Death Metal fan somewhat perfectly as the new songs on this very impressive album are thoroughly a very skillfully played and executed Death Metal that will surely gather all the fans of Deicide´s and Morbid Angel´s past material together to enjoy THE APOSTATE from the very bottom of each listener´s heart and soul...
As far as all the bonus material on the album goes, well, you can get a cover of Celtic Frost´s probably most covered song called “Circle of the Tyrants” plus Luciferion´s 5-song THE DEMON OF 1994 that as far as I remember, brought them a deal with Listenable Records back in the day. It´s of course cool and nice to have all this stuff in a CD-format, but it would have been much cooler to put out all these bonus songs on its own separate release f.ex. for the die-hard Luciferion-fans only in my opinion ´coz now the contrast between the new material and all the old material is simply just way too much to handle. Just to be honest, there´s a simply way too drastic difference between the new – and old material. Besides, keep in your minds the old songs are just ´demo songs´ and they have all been released on the DEMONICATION (THE MANIFEST) album already, so I guess you can relatively easily figure out yourself why I would have preferred a completely separate release for those songs. I could have lived without them as well and only enjoyed all these new cuts on THE APOSTATE only. Also, I cannot help it a bit, but I´m always used to skip over these bonus tracks and start playing the disc all over again right from the beginning.
Still, despite of my ´a bit´ negative bitchin´, THE APOSTATE is definitely worth buying and will most probably be ranked one of the strongest and finest Death Metal album this year as well, at least in my personal books for sure. So, don´t hesitate a second when it will hit all the stores around the world; just go buy it! I bet you´ll hardly regret my recommendation - just believe me!! ;=)