It’s rather interesting how Apostle of Solitude’s fourth full-length album is not only the Indianapolis doom group’s shortest to date, but also their slowest paced. With the exception of the mid-tempo muscle on the opening instrumental “Overlord,” the songs on this outing all opt for drawn out riffs set to molasses tempos. It seems to go against the band’s penchant for being more varied and experimental than they let on, but if you find the band at their best on songs like “Sincerest Misery (1000 Days),” then From Gold to Ash may very well be your new favorite album.
While I do miss previous albums’ upbeat and speedy tracks, it wouldn’t be fair to deem the music one-dimensional. It is certainly an emotional listen as the tragic air on songs like “My Heart Is Leaving Here” and “Grey Farewell” has more in common with the theatrical sorrow of classic My Dying Bride than the fuzzy moping of Pallbearer and Warning. “Ruination Be Thy Name” in particular will likely become a band staple thanks to its downer sing-along style in the vein of “Die Vicar Die” and “Blackest of Times.”
Thankfully the band’s musicianship also remains as excellent as ever. The guitar preserves the same melodic, reverb-drenched tone and loose yet defined rhythms are topped with forlorn vocal harmonies. Main vocalist/guitarist Chuck Brown continues to lead the charge with as much enthusiasm as these inherently downtrodden compositions will allow, but Steve Janiak’s performance on “My Heart is Leaving Here” does result in what may be the album’s more stirring track.
Overall, From Gold to Ash is a strong album that showcases Apostle of Solitude at their most straightforward and doom friendly. Of Woe and Wounds is a tough album to live up to, and while I feel that it may end up being the band’s defining achievement when it’s all said and done, this album is a welcome follow-up that is grounded without playing it too safe. If you’re looking for a particularly sad slice of traditional doom metal, this forty-four minute outing will be a very savory morsel.
“Ruination Be Thy Name”
“My Heart is Leaving Here”