Apostle of Solitude – Last Sunrise
Yes, more can be less. Apostle of Solitude's Last Sunrise (Profound Lore/Eyes Like Snow) comes with a number of bonus tracks, depending on location. In Europe, the bonus tracks are covers of Thin Lizzy, Misfits, and Celtic Frost. In North America, the bonus tracks are covers of The Obsessed, Born Against, and Misfits. (The double LP, which comes in brown/white and clear vinyl, includes all six bonus tracks.) The covers are solid, but they don't reveal much other than good taste, and where the band's vocal melismas (Danzig) and "Ooh!"'s (Celtic Frost) come from. They pad out an already long running time; the album proper is 54 minutes long, and the four-minute instrumental intro could have been dropped. Sometimes the difference between "good" and "great" is what's omitted.
But the meat of the album - eight tracks, no nonsense, 50 minutes - is very, very good. It has both sound and songs, which places it ahead of approximately 99% of all metal. Guitarist/vocalist Chuck Brown once played drums for Gates of Slumber, and Apostle of Solitude superficially shares a similar love for classic doom and heavy metal. But Apostle has no fantasy elements. The lyrics detail a couple en route to a terrible ending - hence the terrible cover art - but they could apply to any relationship filled with drama and deceit. The music also feels realistic, with organic tones and performances. They deliver some of my favorite things about doom - ten-ton riffs, lumbering shifts between gears, and a feeling of not-right-ness. Guitars often converse between high and low registers, perhaps acting out the subject material. Some passages are tender and soulful. Others are caustic, with string bends that hurt so good. I've been obsessed with this album for a while. It's as addictive as a doomed relationship.