The Order Of Apollyon
19 April 2010
by Tom Dare
For every action there is an equal an opposite reaction. To have light, you must have dark. For every classic album, there must be a puddle of unlistenable excrement that must be avoided at all costs in case it ruins your shoes. To have black metal, apparently we must also have unblack metal, based around Christian rather than Satanic ideology. Formed of former members of Aborted, Akercocke and Cradle Of Filth, The Order Of Apollyon falls into this category. You wonder what in the name of Baphomet they were doing in those bands in the first place, given their statement of intent.
Just because the message is powerfully Christian, rather than Satanic, does not mean it is benign- the ethos behind the band apparently involves driving “masses to accept the indubitable domination of the Holy Spirit” and that “the disloyal scum shall writhe in Eternal Suffering”. We are clearly not talking about Norman Greenbaum or the Jonas Brothers here – the ideas are as harsh and unpleasant as you would expect from any other black metal, only here they are in service to the metaphysical power whose minions have wings and halos rather than forked tongues and cloven hooves. Just because the band are Christian does not mean they are any less misanthropic or idealistically unpalatable.
The music itself is fairly accomplished, mixing a quite militant-sounding brand of death metal with the more furious end of the black metal spectrum. The drumming is superb, the vocals unpleasant and the riffs strong. However when it all fits together there is something badly missing. Music like this demands a certain chaotic aggression, a sense of random shocking violence being meted out arbitrarily. This is almost totally absent, and while there are moments which are genuinely exciting, the overall experience is a considerable let-down for a band with this pedigree. This is particularly apparent with the penultimate track ‘Ex-Voto’, a track made purely of noise- it is clearly trying to sound ambient and sinister, but is instead merely dull.
Watch The Order of Apollyon in the studio:
The individual components are all fine, but when they are assembled it totally fails to engage, like a gearbox where the parts are from different cars. The discipline of the military feel to the rhythm section, obviously wanting you to think about being marched in front of a divinity for judgement, simply does not mesh with the evil unpredictability of some of the riffs. The unconventional song structures that you expect are present, but they feel predictable – almost as if, when the axe of the judge swings for your neck, you can duck out of the way, knowing it was coming.
Like a blockbuster film with some fabulous action sequences but little in between, The Flesh ends up being a rather hollow experience enclosing a few powerful moments.
Sounds like: Akercocke, Marduk
Top tracks: Ich Bin Das Licht, The Flesh Of YHVH
The Order Of Apollyon- The Flesh tracklisting:
Ich Bin Das Licht
Flesh Of YHVH