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Apneica - Vulnerabile Risalita (2017) - Review

Band: Apneica
Album title: Vulnerabile Risalita
Release date: 22 May 2017
Label: Self-Released/Mizar Elektric Waves

01. Sul Fondo (angoli remoti)
02. Acqua Su Acqua
03. Inserimento Dati Vitali
04. Programmazione Sentimenti
05. Elemento
06. Modalità Percettiva
07. Sognando Nuove Colonie
08. In Risalita

Sardinian (Italy) based doomsters Apneica who released in 2014 a very promissing EP, Pulsazioni...Conversione, are now back with the second full-lenght. Those of you who follow our website should already know that Apneica started as a one-man band and released as such self-titled debut album in 2011. Many things have changed since then and today Apneica became a five piece band with the latest addition of Alice Doro behind the second guitar. I had huge expectations about this album, mostly because we deal here with a very talented pack of musicians, but the reality is that Vulnerabile Risalita is a quite a dissapointment from many possible standpoints.

Atmospheric and progressive doom/death metal can be a tricky thing to deal with, many elements must be in the right place and that's the problem here. Apneica are deeply inspired by the sea and water that surrounds their beautiful island, and like it was their previous EP also this album's thematics are basicly only about the water, a vital element for mankind. With lyrics completely in Italian language the band tries to be just a bit original and I give them some credits for that. Also the first two or three tracks are quite tasty, bringing forth an interesting mix of traditional doom/death metal, some post-rock and a bit of progressive metal, yet the band managed to create an interesting dark atmospheric sound which in this case is necessary to keep the listener focused.

Unfortunately what follows is a sparse attempt to make things interesting. First of all clean vocals, with an exception in the first track, are sounding so very bland, almost lifeless and most of all intrusive. Just listen for example to "Programmazione Sentimenti" or to "Elemento" to understand what I mean. The Italian lyrics also doesn't work in favor for them, it simply sounds strange, I don't know how to say it differently. On the other hand those deep growls and occasional blackened shrieks are another story, but are often backened with a weak instrumentation, so it doesn't really make an effect as it should. I miss some depth, strenght and passion here, and while the album is progressing further it sinks into monotony, with just some tiny parts that lift it up from total oblivion.

Here and there, when going into full doom/death blow things sound a bit familiar to October Tide or Daylight Dies, sometimes even to Novembers Doom, but Apneica wants to sound different at all costs. This is not at all a bad stance, but you must know how to do it right. Ok, I don't want to say that this is overall a bad album, beside good harsh vocals, in here you can find many great melodic guitar lines, even though those are many times a bit too fronted, the technical side is also not questionable, especially drums play quite a good role. The problem is that the album has no necessary pathos with which the band could reach more immersive soundscapes. Most of the tracks have no head and no tail, and are difficult to follow. For example the last track "In Risalita", especially the beginning of it, where the band plays with some kind of psychedic-post-doom-death-rock is in big part out of place. I miss more atmosphere which could be reached with use of some synths. Also the whole mix and production doesn't work in their favor, I think that this kind of sound would be much more appropriate for some post-rock, stoner rock, punk rock or pop rock bands, neither does the mastering, done by Magnus Lindberg of legendary Cult Of Luna, help in any way, maybe it even worsen the things and with this they simply missed the point of how doom metal should sound.

Vulnerabile Risalita is a step back if compared to their previous EP and I hope that Apneica learned their lesson, because they are talented musician and I'm sure that they are capable of doing great things, but they must find the right compositional way which will make their songs more captivating. They shouldn't just try to expose their technical skills, because otherwise they should start to play some other style, maybe progressive rock or something, they must find a line that will connect their songs, they must find different productional approach, with more depth, more ambiance and after all with more soul. Anyway, there are still some good things to enjoy, those of you who like to hear some good guitar lines should try to give it a listen, and there are some quality doom/death metal parts that might be enjoyable enough for devoted fans of the genre.

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 5/10