Review: APOSTATE VIATICUM – “Before The Gates Of Gomorrah”… Posted: 10/04/2017 by John O'Brien
It’s like the saying goes… “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks!”. Or in this case, three old mongrels and one younger pup. Vinnie O’Brien and David “George” Thomas have been dishing out their take on Death Metal for the last thirty years, originally as ASPHYXIA before re-branding to MORPHOSIS. After closing the door on the infamous Irish outfit back in late 2011, Vinnie and George are now back as APOSTATE VIATICUM.
Enlisting former INHUMANE and NEPHRIDIUM sticksman Andy Inight to sit behind the drum kit the trio set about jamming and rehearsing, with their first ‘demo’ track surfacing in limited circles at the end of 2014, and further tracks being developed into 2015. Early 2016 saw them being joined by Muiris Ó Fiannachta, the young gun of the group, who had previously cut his teeth with CORRUPTED/AGONY DESIGN and more recently in TYPE O NEGATIVE tribute act BLOODY KISSES. Now! Early 2017 sees the band’s debut album “Before The Gates Of Gomorrah” being released via Dublin’s Invictus Productions.
Feedback…!!! Into a repetative picked riff. Album intro ‘In Articulo Mortis’ doesn’t veer of course or stray into flashy leads. It stays brief and focused, even when drums and bass join the fray, as it keeps building until a thick bass line drives the nail all the way home and the first proper offerring, ‘Anathema Inherent’ explodes from the speakers. Experience definitely shines through as APOSTATE VIATICUM are off to a great start and there’s no holding back. Pounding drums, caustic riffing and vocals delivered with absolute viciousness as they proclaim their statement of intent straight out of the traps. But it’s not all outright savagery either, with well placed and considered leads, adding just a glimmer of melody to elevate the overall effect. The final closing minutes are executed brilliantly in a superb extended fade out of more guitar feedback, effects and dive bombs.
The following triple salvo are the high point on the album. Each track sum up everything about the band perfectly. The intro riff on ‘Moloch The Sanguinary’ is a sneaky diversion before the real pummeling commences. By the time it reaches the mid-section they up the ante again with an array of no bullshit riffs, then settle into a killer groove and an impressive vocal from Ó’Fiannachta with George joining right at the end, as they deliver the final blows.
‘In The Shadow Of The Monolith’ is probably the stand out track. Another slow, yet weighty intro that re-cycles the closing riff from ‘Anathema Inherent’ to nice effect and fleshes out into a very intense track brimming with riffs, layered guitars and driving drums from Andy Inight. I dare anyone to NOT automatically start headbanging, even just a slight nod, while listening to this one. Particularly towards the end! Fantastic stuff!
‘Bastards of Cain’ is the shortest track on offer (apart from the main album intro) and simply lets rip right from the start with almost black metal, buzz-saw guitars and pounding drums. The vicious nature of the tracks takes a momentary reprieve around the middle as more leads and layered guitars are churned out before the onslaught is let loose once more. It’s an easily forgotten track in the overall scheme of things, but is easily one of the fastest and most direct stand alone numbers on the album. As ‘Bastards…’ finishes, it also brings the initial bout of tracks previously demoed and circulated to an end. And we finally get to the two newest tracks that were written as a full unit.
They’ve really nailed the intros segments to tracks on the album and title track ‘Before The Gates Of Gomarrah’ is no exception, setting an eerie and sinister tone. Overall, it’s a slower mid-paced track with flurries of speed and tempo changes dotted throughout. The eeriness makes a return just after the halfway mark and evolves into slow and devastating close. Queue more compulsory and uncontrollable headbanging.
Bringing up the rear is another fast paced, no holds barred, belter, ‘Beckoned By The Callous Dead’. Ó’Fiannachta makes his vocal presence known once again adding serious weight to an already massive track. Heading for the final furlong, APOSTATE VIATICUM bring back a bit of groove in the latter half before rounding out the album with more layered guitars and once again reverting back to a previous riff, in this instance from the album’s intro ‘In Articulo Mortis’… bringing the whole affair full circle.
The only real critique I can give is that the band didn’t re-record more parts from the original pre-production tracks instead of simply re-mixing and adding more elements to include the full line-up. But “Before The Gates Of Gomorrah” is still a welcome return to the Irish Death Metal scene for Vinnie and George. They were stuck in the thick of it all back in it’s formative days during the mid-late 1980’s. The speed and rabid approach that had dominated their tenure with MORPHOSIS, particularly the later years, has been chiselled down to reveal a much rawer, heavy and more considered style. To see them hit back again with a release of this calibre is nothing short of a triumph. More please!