Aphotic

Picture of Aphotic

Aphotic

Aphotic - Aphotic ©2000 Self-Released
1. Liquid Dread
2. Glide
3. Psychoma
4. A Chance To Live
5. Panoramic

Rising up from the frozen tundra of Green Bay, Wisconsin, is this young three piece doom metal band named Aphotic. Although the gently self-effacing promo sheet that came with this self-titled five song demo immediately pointed out errors and shortcomings in the making of this demo, I find this to be an excellent debut into the doom metal world. Moreover, I rather disagree with some of the commentary made in that promo sheet. Aphotic's sound is a slow, deathy style of doom with occasional lighter keyboard passages, but they never lose sight of creating a dreamy atmosphere throughout these five songs. The production is rather good for a demo, highlighting the compositions well. The band themselves lament not having a live drummer yet, but the programming is more than sufficient for the demo. Most importantly the songwriting is effective and convincing, creating a solid mood throughout the five songs. Fans of earlier Anathema or My Dying Bride should immediately take note of this band. If this initial demo is any indication of things, Aphotic should be a force within doom metal in coming years, especially if they refine their sound as they intend. Very nice demo indeed!

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 04/2001

Back to top 

Under Veil Of Dark

Aphotic - Under Veil Of Dark ©2001 Self-Released
1. Precipice
2. Under Veil Of The Endless Grey Sky
3. Atmosphere
4. Free Me

Under Veil of Dark is the second demo/self-financed MCD to come from the Green Bay atmospheric doom metal act Aphotic. Their original demo, recorded only three months after their inception, showed a great deal of promise and skill. Having gotten some more experience together, the trio shows considerable growth with this four song EP. Under Veil of Dark is in fact one fine piece of moody, echoing and morose doom metal that rivals Chicago's Novembers Doom for some of the best American doom metal I've heard.

The band's main strength lies mostly in their ability to capture of a mood of despair and still retain some sense of journey within the song. Quite a few doom metal bands tend to stand still in terms of motion within the music, but Aphotic gives the listener the feeling the song is travelling, not wallowing in one miniscule snapshot of sadness. The band allows for a smoothness to emboss the heaviness, with the fine production harnessing a full sound spectrum. The band relies mostly on guitars for their music, but odd sound effects occasionally echo in the background. This EP might remind one of older doom metal and fortunately does not bog down in gothy tendencies. Under Veil of Dark should remind some listeners of what might have happened if Katatonia of 1993 had taken a route that Novembers Doom took.

Still unsigned, Aphotic is offering this EP for a very reasonable price simply to get their name out there. It will be a mystery of massive proportions if this band isn't signed after this EP gets spread around.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 11/2001

Back to top 

Stillness Grows [Demo]

Aphotic - Stillness Grows Demo ©2002 Self-Released
1. Loathe
2. Benumb
3. Spores
4. Vulnerable
5. Lunar Ride

There is something terribly unjust about the metal world today. On one side of the coin, labels seem to love signing a thousand and one bands who clone a popularized style and most of those bands aren't worthy of even cleaning the toilet bowls of their fans who spend a lot of money on overpriced CDs. Yet there are these struggling independent bands who play much better music and are still toiling away in obscurity and near poverty. One such band is Aphotic, an American classic doom metal band who has already released two excellent demos and are now on their third attempt to woo a record label.

Obviously there are some deaf labels out there. While I'm not here to say Aphotic is by far the best unsigned band in the entire world and they're better than every single signed band alive, I will venture forth that they're an extremely capable and impressive act who should be capturing more attention. The band's last two demos were sent with a nifty foldout cardboard sleeve that presented the band very nicely. For Stillness Grows, the band has resorted to simply sending out CDr copies as they can't afford to spend a lot of money on the more extravagent packaging. Darn shame. This third demo, which finds the band with a permanent drummer, is yet another long stride forward in growth.

Aphotic is still embellishing the more romantic doom metal that was characterized by Katatonia before they switched to their morose Jeff Buckley tinged metal. The sound is extremely lush, built on slower paces and filled with an atmosphere that hasn't been heard since Sounds of Decay. The inclusion of a real drummer makes the band sound considerably more organic and helps the music breathe better. Keyboards are utilized very tastefully, mostly underscoring the guitar riffs. The vocals are an echoing force that harkens to the earlier days of doom metal. Although I seem to be sticking to this point too much, I keep thinking that this is what Katatonia might have sounded like had they stuck to their harsher doom sound rather than changing. And hopefully anyone who reads that and thinks, "Golly, I would have liked to hear Katatonia stick to doom" will do what they can to contact Aphotic.

Hopefully this time around Aphotic will garner enough attention to finally get a deal to properly record a full length. The band has taken their time in developing without rushing themselves and it's safe to say they're quietly becoming one of the most interesting current doom metal bands around.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 12/2002

Back to top 

Stillness Grows

Aphotic - Stillness Grows ©2004 Flood the Earth
1. Vulnerable
2. Benumb
3. Spores
4. Lowlife
5. Lunar Ride
6. Precipice
7. Under The Veil Of The Endless Grey Sky
8. Atmosphere
9. Free Me
10. Livid Dread
11. Glide
12. Psychoma
13. A Chance To Live
14. Panoramic

For several years now, the world has been subjected to an endless parade of gothy and plastic coated bands who offer metal fans a sterilized and entirely worthless form of "doom" metal. The labels responsible for this dross should be utterly ashamed of themselves for inflicting such garbage because those of us in the know, such as the omnipotent staff here at Satan Stole My Teddybear, are quite aware of much better music in the unsigned underground. For instance, Aphotic has been releasing demos for years in hopes of snaring that elusive recording contract with a notable label, but it seems apparent certain record companies are more interested in pushing forth bands that have a female member who is willing to stuff herself into a tight leather tank top and prance about like a ninny. Is it any wonder the omnipotent staff at Satan Stole My Teddybear halted the flow of promos from certain record companies?

Fortunately for fans of atmospheric doom in the vein of 1997 Katatonia, Aphotic offers some splendid material and none of their members cavort about in their underthings. Thank goodness. These guys aren't exactly GQ material. Anyhow, Stillness Grows collects the three demos from Aphotic and compiles them all onto one super handy CD. Considering the first two were released in foldout cardboard sleeves and the third demo was CDr only, this finally makes Aphotic's fine music readily available. For those curious about the music here, feel free to scroll upwards to read the reviews of the three demos. I didn't write those just for my health, you know. You have a mouse. Use it.

In summary, all three of Aphotic's demos were praiseworthy and should have garnered this band much more attention than they have so far gotten. It utterly baffles me that they have been ignored by the major metal labels. Fortunately, doom fans who don't need various jiggling body parts to express their sorrow and despair will rejoice at this excellent compilation of music.

Review by John Chedsey

Review date: 10/2004

Back to top