I love a good EP, especially one that is so enjoyable it demands repeat listens. Add to the fact that this EP is short enough that I can listen to it whenever the mood strikes, and you’ve got yourself something worth its weight in salt. Lately, I’ve been listening to a lot of Hypocrisy, so finding something in that vein is always a treat and when Archaic Decapitator’s The Apothecary came to my attention, I was intrigued. Combining elements of melodeath and prog, The Apothecary hits the ground running, immediately giving off an expansive, melodic experience even though it has a short run time.
The Apothecary wastes no time in exploding out of the gate. Although “Circadian Promise” is a short and sweet introduction that gives us a glimpse of what’s to come, it’s the second track “Skyward” that truly highlights what the band is about. With its heavy yet melodic riffing and usage of prog and symphonic elements, “Skyward” lays the foundation for what’s to come, creating this emotional warmth that I hadn’t expected to find in a death metal release.
Usually, the melodeath I’ve been acquainted with tends to be straightforward, playing off any emotion that could be elicited as a simple tone that mutes it. What Archaic Decapitator has done is expand their sound so the music is discernible from its atmosphere, giving each song a personality. From the sinister motifs in “Cruelty to the Host Star” to the reel-like accompaniment of the title track, Archaic Decapitator clearly know how to use their sound to a huge advantage. I couldn’t help but notice a slight similarity to M.H.X.’s Chronicles’s Infinite Ocean, an album that remains near and dear to my heart.
All in all, The Apothecary is a gem of an EP that clearly has laid the foundation for something else, something much larger to come. I am excited to see where they go next, as they have a very interesting sound and unique approach to melodeath that is always welcome. I personally will keep an ear out for these guys, as I’m now fully invested in whatever they do, which will hopefully be a full-length.