Apparition - Disgraced Emanations From A Tranquil State

Artist: Apparition

Album Title: Disgraced Emanations From A Tranquil State

Label: Profound Lore

Date of Release: 22 March 2024

It’s official: I can’t keep up! There’s just too much new music being released at the moment for one man to cope with. It’s not a bad thing, and I am definitely not moaning. But, when I’m already starting to drown, imagine my initial delight when, for once, I check out an album that’s being lauded by the great and the good of social media, and my initial reaction is ‘meh, it’s ok, but I think I’ll pass.’ Only, I didn’t make that decision quickly enough, and I certainly didn’t act upon it quickly enough. Damnation and hellfire.

The album in question is the pithily titled ‘Disgraced Emanations From A Tranquil State’, and it’s the second full-length from Los Angeles-based quartet, Apparition. It’s a band name, as I found out quite quickly, that’s popular across the pond with no fewer than six other US entities boasting the same moniker. In this case, the Apparition I’m interested in hasn’t been around for overly long it appears, having released their first EP in 2019 and their debut full-length, ‘Feel’, in 2021. The quartet is comprised of guitarists Miles McIntosh and Andrew Solis, bassist Taylor Young, and drummer/vocalist Andrew Morgan.

Returning to my faux pas, and it was the final minute or so of the opening track, ‘Asphyxcreation’ that sealed the deal. Had I moved on more swiftly, I may never have heard this passage, and I may never have returned to the music of Apparition again. But I didn’t, and the rest is history.

For the better part of four minutes, ‘Asphyxcreation’ delves into the murky and depraved world of old school death metal, complete with grotty, dirty, and debauched riffs spearheading a brutal attack, ably aided and abetted by a willing rhythm section where blastbeats and gnarly bass notes only add to the overall tumult. Occasionally, there’s the odd lead guitar break that pierces the murk with a pronounced clarity, albeit with an almost discordant shrug of the shoulders. At these points, you get the feeling that there’s more to Apparition than a simple bludgeoning approach. It’s a feeling that’s realised in the final throes of the song that suddenly slows right down into doom territory, before unleashing some twisted melodies and genuine progressive intent. It’s this section that pulled me in and the more I listen, the more I wish that a similar approach was used more often across the album.

As it is, the remaining five tracks that make up ‘Disgraced Emanations From A Tranquil State’ instead plough ahead in an effort to blend their old school death metal assault with some pronounced progressive exploration. For my tastes, there’s simply not enough of those melodic injections to ensure that the end result is a complete home run, and that’s a bit of a shame if I’m being truthful; I’d have loved the dirt and grime, as well as the out-and-out oddball moments much more if I knew that a touch more melody was lurking around the corner in ambush.

Apparition - Disgraced Emanations From A Tranquil State
Photo Credit: Charles Doan

That said, I still find myself strangely drawn to the music on the record, seeking it out more often than I thought I would. A lot of it has to do with those sickening grooves that appear from time to time, as well as the juxtaposing, almost clashing elements that arguably shouldn’t work, but do. For example, is it just me that hears a hint or two of very early Paradise Lost within some of the more atmospheric meanderings within the preposterously titled ‘Imminent Expanse Of Silence And Not (Or Not)’? And what about that strange, almost tribal sounding outro? I’m not convinced I like it, but I do admire the sense of adventure that’s alive and well within Apparition.

Speaking of not liking parts of this record, I’m also not a fan at all of the sub-three-minute ‘instrumental’, ‘Inner Altitudes, Light Transference’. I use quotation marks for the word instrumental, because that’s being kind; this is a foray into a world of weird noises, textures, and sounds that’s interesting I guess but as a piece of music, it’s not my thing at all and I happily skip it most times I unleash the album.

At over eight minutes in length, ‘Paradoxysm’ is a composition not for the faint-hearted. There’s no let-up in the bruising aggression that the band seem intent on meting out to those of us willing to listen. But, having bemoaned a lack of melody, we are treated to some cool guitar leads and motifs as well as some bold keys that help to create a greater sense of memorability. There’s also a genuine groove that emerges at points that’s not immediately evident. It’s a real grower in fact, and has slowly, inexorably, become a personal favourite at the heart of the album. Incidentally, it’s also the track that cements my admiration for the vocals, which are deep, raspy, and full of menace, perfectly suited to the oft-times gruesome sounds that surround the voice coming from the pits of hell.

It isn’t until the last of the six tracks that I again hear much in the way of melody, not that this is obviously a key component of the music for Apparition. Again, when it emerges, it does so towards the end of the near eight-minute closer, ‘Circulacate’. Leading up to that moment of light amongst the gloom is a bona fide monster of a song that bludgeons remorselessly one minute, then veers off to deliver a jazz-like noodling the next, interspersed by other interesting, competing ideas. But the band manage to just about pull it off, thus demonstrating their significant abilities with instruments in hand.

My feelings towards ‘Disgraced Emanations From A Tranquil State’ are therefore mixed. On the one hand, I wish there was more material within the tracks to offer respite from the heavy and the downright odd. But, equally, I find myself drawn to the album frequently. Call it morbid fascination if you will, but there’s clearly some great music on offer if I’m going to willingly return for more aural bludgeoning. It all adds up to a curious end product from Apparition; one that I think I like, but one that keeps me on my toes and keeps me guessing, nonetheless. Over time, I get the feeling that I’ll end up liking it even more than I do right now, too.

The Score of Much Metal: 84%



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