Indie. Passion. Art. Music.
The concept album is a tough one; a constant narrative carried over the span of an album. On one hand if done successfully you get the Dark Side of the Moon, SGT. Pepper, or De-loused in The Comatorium;however,if done badly you get Kilroy was Here or Music From the Elder. Yikes. Not that there isn’t a middle ground; it’s just that usually the outliers get the most attention as with anything. So, for your listening pleasure we have The Flying Machine by Apex of Apathy which lands somewhere within that previously mentioned range, but where it lands, we’ll soon find out.
How would I characterize Apex of Apathy? Comparatively speaking, think The Devil Wears Prada, Bring me the horizon, or As I lay Dying…minus the production budget. Unfortunately, the music can come off as a bit formulaic at times; you have your brutal breakdowns, more double bass drumming than you can shake a stick at (inexcusable pun), and some extra heavy guitar riffs, plus keyboarding. These ingredients are what I have come to expect when listening to metalcore/post hardcore bands, and generally these elements work in the context of the genre; although not wholly offensive in and of themselves, it’s just that sometimes I feel that bucking the trend might net some more interesting results. The problem I had with the album is I just couldn’t get into the screaming (ironic given my history). After listening to the album a few times I came to the conclusion that, either the screaming needs some work, or the clean vocals might need to take the fore from here on out.
In looking back at The Flying Machine; the times that the music was at its most enjoyable, ironically, was when there was not any singing at all. Not to say the clean vocals are bad because, well, they are executed in a pretty impressive way. However the breakdowns and the bridges to a lot of the songs end up outshining the more vocally driven moments , and it is in these disparities where you get the sense that the band has some excellent potential.
In a conceptual sense, the album provided an interesting narrative coupled with decent lyrics that kept the listener intrigued throughout. The album was also put together well; the flow felt pretty natural from song to song, and the acoustic track “Patience II” provided a temporary break before finishing up on a high note. The instrumentals are solid as some different play styles are utilized occasionally, such as a jazzy bridge towards the end of “Body games” or the low-key almost indie sounding intro to “Still Alive.” It is in these moments that I can say we have a band that may need to consider taking their experimental moniker even further and try something a little different: blazing a whole new trail.
This is a case of great potential energy and a few brow raising missteps. The album is a few steps beyond unremarkable, but never quite escapes decent but flawed. These feelings are rectified only by fleeting moments of awesome sprinkled throughout the album. It’s a monumental task to truly get me to not enjoy music, and once again I did find things to like about this album so I’m still 0 for 0 in the “hate” category. Considering this is the band’s first full album I’d state the obvious and say they have a way to go, but that’s too vague. So, I’ll leave on this note. Missteps are inevitable; as long as you keep moving forward, that’s what counts. Well,that plus, you are NOT Blood on the Dance Floor (google them but don’t say I didn’t warn you).
Overall Score: 2.75/5
Favorite Tracks: Still Alive, The Stranger, Body Games, The Flying Machine
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