Review: “Interstellar” by Apollo Stands

Conceived in Norwich in 2016 as something of a more traditional Metal act, Apollo Stands have evolved over their 5 years together from 2017s “Join Us” to 2020’s “Minds” through countless live shows with everyone from Megalomatic to  Setraline, an odyssey into the endless universe of the human psyche taking on a more Progressive Metalcore sound. For this third record the band  comprise Alexei Swatman (Guitar, Vocals, Keys), Ryan Hase (Lead Vocals), Olly Smith (Lead Guitar), Matt Hayward (Bass) and Edgar Taljaard (Drums) for the final time with Hase exiting stage left mid September…

…six tracks and an introduction piece in “Void” has “Interstellar” marked as an EP by a band who have grown in statute in recent times and after the orchestrated science fiction soundscape fades away, the DJent fuelled riffs come to into play with “Insolarus“. Hase has a distinctly American accent to his clean vocals that make the band impossible to place on the World map and on this cut he shows of this full range with some brutal unclean moments to augment the heavier sections. It’s front loaded with staccato riffage and parts that are almost but not quite a full on breakdown designed to get pits started and those synth enhancements that stitch it together make a real impact. After such a punchy opening cut “Synthetic” brings the bigger, more anthemic chorus and some Nu-Metal inspired rantings and by this point you may have realised that the science fiction themes of the EPs title and cover artwork are reflected sonically with the synths and programming rather that add depth to each cut rather than in the lyrics which offer far more introspection than storytelling. That flows into a tale in “Pick Up” that runs on a narrative about a struggle with drug addiction ot knowing when to say “enough is enough” and how one suffers the consequences of ones actions with surprising grunge sensibilities. The gritty, raw nature of vocal shines through, even if the subject matter is a little too obvious for anyone who hasn’t been through those experiences to make the song their own so despite being a solid riffing affair, it offers a slight disconnect. Apollo Stands evolution has lead to a more dense sonic assault and with “Please Wait” they reach the heavier end of Metalcore in brutal fashion with impressive use of build up to get to the centre of the storm. They use their grasp of how to construct an aching melody with “Hive” which is almost schizophrenic in nature and offers up some tasteful leads that you cry out for more of elsewhere however in the “The Arbiter” they save their best until last. A life affirming song that is packed with groove and swagger, it brings the record full circle building on the foundations without straying from the path that helps give the record a fantastic flow. Overall, a polished and shinning piece of Modern Metalcore, “Interstellar” should help lift Apollo Stands to new heights should they be able to find a vocalist as talented as Hase [7.5/10]

Track listing

  1. Void
  2. Insolarus
  3. Synthetic
  4. Pick Up
  5. Please Wait
  6. Hive
  7. The Arbiter

Interstellar” by Apollo Stands is out 5th November 2021

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