You Send Us Things, We Listen to Them: Den of Apparition

Are you in the mood for something spooky?

The correct answer is yessssss. Autumn is right around the corner, and if you’re as obsessed with the season as I am then you can already feel your senses preparing for the shift. I’ll probably avoid Halloween this year because I don’t want to deal with all the embarrassing adults dressed like Pockeymans or whatever the fuck. But if I were to throw a Halloween party, you can bet your buttcoins Den of Apparition‘s 2016 demo, Uncanny Din, would be on the playlist—right along side siblings in extreme spookiness Gnaw Their Tongues, Bergraven, Caput Mortuum and Cradle of Nah Just Kidding (or am I?).

I’m stretching my cognitive faculties beyond their limits to invent some nano-genre to pigeonhole what this one-man bedroom horror project is up to here. Post-death? Avant-slashercore? Death ambient? The vocals—deep, chesty growls with a judicious amount of reverb—peg this as the bastard progeny of death metal. For sure, the spirit of weird, claustrophobic death metal is alive and kicking here, but as synths and industrial beats take the lead it doesn’t feel a whole lot like the death metal we know and love. There are no blastbeats, no dizzying solos—in fact, there may be no guitar to speak of, as what sparing distortion there is could just as easily be the work of a synth patch. Imagine if you will a synthwave musician looking to branch out into death metal, and the only death metal he or she has ever heard is Ævangelist. Or imagine said musician consciously deconstructing death metal in search of what makes it scary. Strip back all the riffs and what you’re left with is the atmosphere, the mood, the unadulterated horror. The result—Uncanny Din—is something more alien, more sinister than its ancestry, relying on our imaginations and our phobias to draw us into murky introspection rather than ripping our guts out with riffs.

Den of Apparition relies almost entirely upon textures, as opposed to melodies and harmonies, to build songs. It’s all about the rhythmic and dynamic interplay between stabby shower-scene synths, creaky floorboard sounds, subterranean gastronomic rumblings, chitinous clattering, and those sub-human drums beating out their shivering, piss-soaked march to the gallows. The hissing, echoing death chants remind me of Howls of Ebb. The maniacal repetition and focus on dreamlike horror remind me (again) of Ævangelist. That said, Den of Apparition is nowhere near as fun as the former and nowhere near as dense as the latter. Howls of Ebb has an obscure sense of whimsy—none of which you will find here. And while these tracks are highly layered, they are not cloying or impenetrable; there is plenty of room inside the mix for anxiety to spread out, new fears to birth themselves, for silence to induce dread and then sheer panic. There is no pain here, no annihilation: only the paranoia and fear which precede pain and annihilation. Maybe death will not come for days yet. Maybe not for years. Regardless, we will wait for it here with clenched teeth and sunken hearts.

Name Your Price

  • Dubbbz

    Glad you wrote about this. Christian and I have been enjoying it, but like you said, it’s a difficult piece of music to tackle. Some parts remind me of Godflesh meets Michael Myers, while others have the atmosphere of Incantation with none of the riffs. I guess we can just call it horror movie metal.

    • You and Christian have got all the hot scoops.

  • Waynecro

    Excellent write-up, Richter. This isn’t the kind of album I can just put on and listen to, but it is indeed spooky as hell. I think I’ll blast this into the phone next time a solicitor calls. Thanks!

  • Eliza

    I like this. Perfect Halloween horror story reading music.

  • This would be cool if someone could sync the songs up to various clips of old horror movies.

  • Seriously, thanks for pointing in the direction of this ghostly sonic ambrosia. It’s not often something this dark and spectral gets by me (which isn’t a brag, more like an admittance of lifelessness and obsession to the point of pitiful fanaticism) – but I can just be glad ToH was there to guide me on this one. Fucking monumental.

    • “Spectral” is the word I was looking for all along. Dangit.

  • Guacamole Jim

    I don’t have cool things to compare this to, so I’ll just say I think it’s hella rad. Glock Jim approved, BLAOW BLAOW.