Apnea – Tainted Purity

My first exposure to Apnea came in the form of one of the inimitable Heavycore compilations with the track ‘Seductress In Angel’s Robes’, which was a pretty unique slab of melodic death/thrash that stood out pretty dramatically from the rest of the tracks on that disc.  With that in mind, I was eager to hear the band’s newest work- in this case, 2005’s ‘Tainted Virtue’.  I was surprised to find a fairly different style of music: in this case, early Floridian style death metal with substantial melodic elements.  To quote the horrible cliché we’re all familiar with: “It’s an exciting blend of old and new!”

Really though, the material showcased on ‘Tainted Purity’ is quite worthwhile death metal.  It would be easiest to describe Apnea’s music as a blend of Deicide/Morbid Angel style death metal with a bit of mid-era In Flames.  Dividing it again is the odd bit of groove riffing or thrashy solo just to change things up, making for a listening experience that’s nothing if not varied.  The album seems to change as it progresses; material in the first half is more brutal and purely death metal, while the second half starts to stray off into experimental and progressive territory, more frequently tinged with the well-performed clean vocals and melodic, textured riffing that helps set Apnea apart from the pack.  Some flairs of technicality are present, particularly in the drum department, where rhythms shuffle across a myriad of different cymbals and nothing seems very straightforward.  It fits the rest of the album: Apnea’s always trying to do something new and add a twist to death metal convention.

The production on this release is a little flat for my liking; it could use some more body and depth to the individual instruments.  Nevertheless, the tonal quality is preserved and everything is heard distinctly.  Each member of the band plays very capably, even with the band’s unique sense of rhythm and timing (see the beginning of ‘Victimized’ for a good example).  Occasionally the songs seem unfocused, with the transfers between heavier and more melodic sections being a tad jarring at times (probably accentuated by the usage of clean vocals), but overall it’s a well-written and composed piece of music.  I dig Apnea, and I do like ‘Tainted Purity’ quite a bit.  It shows a band not afraid to experiment without sacrificing intensity or their roots in metal.  I recommend trying it out to all the modern death metal fans out there.

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~ by noktorn on May 2, 2008.

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