Apolutrosis - Reveiws

METAL MANIACS - June 2004 issue
Aletheian.Apolutrosis.I reviewed this band a year and a half ago (then known as Crutch with a few members different).  They actually used some lines from that write up in their 'zine ads. Good call on sending me the new one, guys.  Initial similarities between both releases include the continually exceptional songwriting and the fact that the guitarists still seem to hold Chuck Schuldiner in as high regard as God himself. The band builds a spiritually-fueled fire in that ever-broadening genre of melodic progressive metal. Clocking in at nearly 35 minutes they generate an enticing musical vision and bring a glut of dynamics to the table. While some of the guitar parts sound a little rusty and slightly off-key in spots, the acoustics, overall presentation, clean-to-harsh vocal jumps and progressive songwriting make this outing a keeper. Fans of Control Denied, Sceptic, Cynic and Nightwish should find haven in this one.           

"Aletheian, formerly known as Crutch, are here to change how you feel about concept albums. With Apolutrosis, Aletheian further assert their mastery of progressive Death Metal; they take all of the musicality of Hope Prevails and raise the bar by several thousand degrees. I love it when a band can deliver on the impossible task of outdoing their own masterpiece. Death Metal has been spending some time in ruts lately, but Aletheian are going to shock new life into the genre with compositional brilliance and musical depth like that of the late Chuck Schuldiner. Although no direct comparisons can be made for a band like Aletheian, Apolutrosis is like Individual Thought Patterns-era Death, with a slightly more symphonic approach. The guitar work on this album is nothing less than phenomenal, as Alex Kenis and Donny Swigart create beautiful harmonies and perform solos that are as emotionally moving as they are technically impressive. In fact, the entire album is as gripping to the soul as it is to the mind. It’s never overly self-indulgent, and always incredibly enrapturing. By combining their strong command of expression and composition with exceptional musicianship, Aletheian have set a new standard for progressive Death Metal."

Norwegian SCREAM Magazine - Nov. 2003
"This American band, who have given themselves the incomprehensible name Aletheian, deliver on ”Apolutrosis” some of the most interesting pieces of music I have heard in a while. The album is like Sarepta`s jar, flowing with milk and honey. You will find almost everything that modern metal has to offer. Added to that, the pre-release sounds really professional. The base of the songs are death metal, and let me add; progressive and intricate technical death metal, which in certain parts show some of the same approach as Extol. Only even more exploring and clean vocal-varied, in addition to the black vocal. The band play well and they succeed with most of what they do on this album, also the mysterious parts which get you thinking about Nile. What else do they have to offer? Well, almost everything from black metal to gregorian song and other fresh, daring and surprising solutions. This is an album which has to be experienced. Even the hardcore-people get their crash-riffs. The music changes its expression all the time, but rests in some calm parts. The band seems a little drowsy in these parts, and the progrock sounding parts are dragged out a bit too much, before new musical faces appear."

Ahhh...what a breath of fresh air! I love all forms of extreme metal, but sometimes bands can become so predictable. Many bands are very talented in what they do, but they really do nothing creative. They just blast away in utter extremeness. Now, there is nothing wrong with that. I enjoy a good skull bashing as much as the next metalhead. But every once-in-a-while, I really crave a band that goes the extra mile to make your listening experience something fresh and innovative.

Aletheian used to go by the name Crutch. Due to a certain record label never returning e-mails, you haven't seen a review of Crutch's debut album on these pages. Unfortunately, I was only able to hear a few songs off the debut, so I can't really comment too much on it in comparison to this new disc. However, what I am hearing on this new disc, Apolutrosis, is some very interesting stuff! Now, I couldn't tell you what Apolutrosis means, or most of the song titles for that matter, but I can tell you that if you like your metal "well-done" this is a disc you gotta check out.

On first listen, this kinda reminds me of what it would sound like if the now defunct band, Dig Hay Zoose were to decide to come back as a death metal band. Dig Hay Zoose played some really demented and wacked-out stuff and it really reminds me of the sounds here. However, the band also incorporates many other "influences" ranging from Raison d'Etre, to Saviour Machine, to Screams of Chaos, to maybe even Kekal. While still retaining a similarity to what little I heard from their first disc.

This is a concept album that seems to take you on a spiritual journey as a person fights with the weights and trials of life only to find the answers in Christ. The story is actually much deeper than what I'm going into here. The lyrics are very well written and you can check them out on the bands website: http://www.aletheian.com

The songs here are all over the place. From ambient, to lethal death metal, to soft acoustic, to plodding heaviness, to meandering guitar solos, to speedy finger picking on the acoustic, to gothic choirs, to Gregorian chanting, to soothing piano, to blastbeats, to funky bass solos, to just plain pummelling, chaotic, bone rattling brutality. Vocally, the band goes from deathly growls, to demented clean vocals, to whispered vocals, to high pitched wailing. Never a dull moment, and never settling for sticking with the same sound for more than a few moments.

The production is very nicely done and with the exception of some pretty plain packaging, this indie release is a must for anyone tired of the same old nicely boxed-in bands. Aletheian has dared to step out on a limb with this technical and progressive slab of metal. In this reviewer's opinion, it was a risk worth taking and was nicely executed. (Review by Matt)

"A band from Pennsylvania by the name of Crutch released a CD called ". . . Hope Prevails" in 2001 on small independent label Burning Records. It was a decent metal album with roots in death and even black metal. A couple of years after releasing this disc, the band went through some changes, acquiring some new members and making the decision to be a touring band. As a result, the band opted to change their name to Aletheian (meaning "truth" in Greek). With this change came a fresher, more progressive direction which, in this reviewer's opinion, is a change for the better.  Apolutrosis (which is Greek for "deliverance" or "redemption") is separated into five compositions, three of which are composed of two movements each. This arrangement combined with the unique names of the songs (Exaleiphen, Splagchna) as well as the album itself set me up expecting a progressive, power, or doom metal CD. Though these elements are evident throughout many of the songs, this album is much more than any one of those styles.

The first song, Hamartia (Greek for "to miss the mark", "to err", essentially to sin), is composed of two movements. Exordium, the first of these, opens up with samples from several different languages, which get layered as the track progresses with an apocalyptic flute solo, choir, keyboard, string section, and intermittent blast beats. The song then segues into Movement II. Imagine throwing Extol, Believer, Underoath and Veni Domine into a pressure cooker. One possible result of that combination might be this movement. This song is incredible, featuring a myriad mixture of clean, death, and black metal vocals, doomy to even progressive metal sections, and lots of stylistic and timing changes throughout. The playing is top notch, and the listener is never quite sure where the song will progress to next.

Tracks 3 and 4 make up Exaleiphein (meaning "to blot out or wipe clean"), the second composition on the CD. Track 3, which is the first movement of two, features conversing voices whispering in the background to the tune of violins and a choir, overlaid with a spoken word death growl. The track has a very somber tone and serves as a nice intro for the more progressive black metal sound of Movement II. Movement II, like Movement II of Hamartia, very nicely mixes progressive black metal not unlike recent Extol, clean vocals and doomy parts reminiscent of Veni Domine, and faster blastbeats intermixed with power metal riffing.

Splagchna ("the nobler viscera" - the heart, lungs, and bowels, used in the Bible to speak of the Lord's compassion) is a cool instrumental that might have sounded right at home on Schaliach's brilliant Sonrise CD with its layering of classically influenced moving parts over an acoustic guitar. Xenos (Greek for "stranger" or "new, unheard of"), the last two-part composition on the CD, is a wonderful blend of symphonic European black metal mixed with piano parts, clean vocals which harmonize with the black metal vocals, more epic classic doom sections, and progressive death metal. Some parts are slow and somber, reminding a bit of Antestor at times, as well as more symphonic bands like Crimson Moonlight. The fade into a choir at the end serves as a nice finish for what may be the most technically complex composition on the entire disc.

Benediction, the last song, is actually this reviewer's favorite. It starts with a classical medieval solo that sounds like a harpsichord. Layer upon layer of guitar solo harmonization and even an organ is added. It then breaks down into a very cool mid-paced black metal song with lots of moving parts. The song then ends with more of the classical influences with which it began.

This CD stayed in this reviewer's player for 2 days straight at one point. The more I listened to it, the more it grew on me. If you like your metal extreme and fast with little regard for technicality, you probably won't like this CD. If you hate extreme metal to intermix strings, piano and clean vocals, then this isn't for you. But if you like your music not to follow a predictable formula, and you are a fan of the various musical styles mentioned throughout this review, or if you just like to hear something different from the norm, then you should check this CD out. The production is quite good, the instruments are played with technical precision and prowess, the songs are highly creative and extremely enjoyable to listen to, and the last song left me eager for more. I would highly recommend this disc and sincerely hope that this isn't all Aletheian has to offer."