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Worth Fighting For: King Apathy’s Latest Album “Wounds” Aims to Heal

wounds

It can be difficult to craft melodic, modern-sounding metal without falling into the realm of radio rock; although, with a little mindful pacing, vocal intensity, and substantial themes, there is potential to create something great. Germany’s King Apathy has succeeded in doing exactly that since the release of their debut full-length The Elk in 2013. After hitting the ground running with that graceful post-metal epic, the four-piece has gradually harnessed the unapologetic aggression of their crust roots and the melancholia of their post-everything approach. Despite addressing heavy topics like environmentalism, capitalism, and human rights, King Apathy has maintained a beauty that makes you realize what is at stake in the world’s decay.

The Elk has received acclaim for its fresh vocals and emotive tendencies, and while the record is not teaming with vocal contributions, they are used where they count. Frontman Nils’s visceral post-hardcore style creates for a distinct contrast between the vivid tone of the instrumentals — a combination not often employed. Additional breaks come from spoken word, which is executed in tracks like “Today, the Sea (Anja’s Song).” The waves being described can be felt in the echoing guitar strokes that serve as apt accompaniment. Appeals to nature feel especially different than those found in, say, atmospheric black metal; in lieu of escaping to ancient lore, the image invoked feels like a tangible reality that is slowly fading away.

Pursuant to the “house music” meme, in which various iconic albums featuring houses on their covers are collectivized, the band’s sophomore full-length from 2016 features a condemnable shell of a home’s former glory offset by a sky textured with grey gradients. The record is not only self-titled, but features a track of the same name, providing King Apathy with a chance to encapsulate their unique point of view. The vibrant, tremolo-laden riffs coupled with neck-gripping vocals lament the colorlessness of industrial capitalism. As we struggle to cope with the alienation between our hands and what we produce, the artistry involved in the creation of King Apathy helps fill a void that drives a wedge between the self and society.

In a culmination of all of the sounds King Apathy has worked to hone thus far, Wounds (released last month) serves as King Apathy’s most stunning release to date. Sliding in with a robotic spoken word comparing the dire straits in which the natural realm has found itself to voluntary human extinction, opener “Civilization Kills” ends on a particularly somber chord. From there, the album takes turns between pleading aggression and contemplative leads, ultimately ending with the epic “Earthmother Rising.” With riffs rising like the tides, soft choir-like samples lead us face-to-face with a wonder that can be taken away at a moment’s notice.

The album artwork for Wounds may give the impression of a ubiquitous metal illustration at first glance, but the longer you look, the more it comes to life. Possessing less realism than past covers, the interpretation of mother nature and her dynamic creatures withstand the looming gears and grime. While it may be easy to let a world drenched in misery pass us by, King Apathy’s punk-rock approach to post-metal helps remind us that there is something worth fighting for.

Wounds is out now on Bandcamp. Follow King Apathy on Facebook.

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