Aephanemer - Prokopton review



Reviewer:
N/A

136 users:
8.08
Band: Aephanemer
Album: Prokopton
Release date: March 2019


01. Prokopton
02. The Sovereign
03. Dissonance Within
04. Snowblind
05. At Eternity's Gate
06. Back Again
07. Bloodline
08. If I Should Die


It's rare for me to like a melodeath album and even rarer to like it so much that it forces me to write a review about it. Prokopton is not just likeable; it's delicious.

Melodeath (not melodic death metal) is a style I generally don't understand. I mean, why would someone choose to mix cheesy melody with vomit-sounding vocals? And don't even get me started on women who growl, especially when they actually have fantastic clean vocal abilities (Arch Enemy, Jinjer, etc). Before you start ranting about how awesome melodeath is, bear in mind that not all of us can appreciate a Hawaiian pizza; however, I admit that sometimes my appetite does call for a slice of pineapple to mess with my crispy bacon. It was one of those times that I came across Prokopton.

Aephanemer emerged as a one-man band and released the instrumental Know Thyself EP in 2014 with very engaging and uplifting music but it was sorely missing some vocals. They became a full band in 2015 and Memento Mori came one year later showing an improvement in songwriting as well as delivery. Now, their latest effort is here and, just like the previous two releases, the album title has a philosophical connotation. The term 'prokopton' refers to someone who is learning and progressing, however imperfectly, along the Stoic path. In modern Greek, 'προκοπή' (prokopί) is the noun used to express progress, growth, development and even success on a personal and/or professional level. So, let's see if the title justifies the content.

Right off the bat I could tell this was going to be a pleasure. The opening title track got me immediately hooked, being a nod to the Finnish ambassadors of the style. Much of what is heard in Prokopton wouldn't be out of place in a Wintersun, Kalmah or Ensiferum record. I am talking about seriously keyboard-heavy (poisoning dosages of pineapple) and super-melodic music with some folk elements, meant to fill you with energy, joy and optimism. Yes, I know we've heard it all before but how often do we hear it so convincingly crafted and executed? Aephanemer's songwriting has indeed progressed and Dan Swanö's impeccable mix helps the listener enjoy it in full. The mesmerizing orchestrations of "The Sovereign" and "Dissonance Within", the powerful riffs and the sing-along chorus of "Back Again", and the barrage of irresistible melodies in "Bloodline" are just some examples of the many treats this album offers.

Given what I wrote in the second paragraph, Marion Bascoul's voice bizarrely works for me and I believe this has to do with the slightly blackened timbre of her growls. The only time we hear her cleans is in my personal favourite, "Snowblind", which boasts an utterly anthemic character and epic progression, leading to a full-on symphonic eruption towards the end.

The band has chosen the longest track to close the album and take you on a final journey through peaks and valleys of riffs and harmonies. It feels like a celebratory culmination of the energetic, dynamic and uplifting slab of metal that preceded and concludes a record that stays with you and doesn't let go, even long after it's finished.

Prokopton is one of those albums that prove that styles and genres and tags are irrelevant. Against all odds, it managed to cheer up my doom-/black-/death-/thrash-infested self. Care to see if it can do the same for you too?

"Void comes from the self alone
Fear from what we believe we own
Stoics across time give an advice
May death be daily before our eyes"


 



Written on 15.05.2019 by I was into this music when you were still in diapers.


Comments

Comments: 3   Visited by: 141 users
15.05.2019 - 13:29
Starvynth
i c deaf people
Aephanemer is a name I always fail to remember, so whenever I stumbled upon a reaction on their latest album here on Metal Storm, I gave them a short listen.

"Prokopton is so far the best album I've heard this year."
Okay, let's check them out. Uhh, well... female vocals? Naah, not my cup of tea.

"The band ramped the quality of the last album."
Aephanemer? Who's that? That cover artwork looks somewhat familiar, though...
Ahh, it's them again!

"I LOVE this album, it came outta nowhere."
Maybe I've just missed out on something so let's give them yet another try...
Well... did Children Of Bodom replace Alexi Laiho by Angela Gossow?

"I need to give it a few more spins, but it sounds like AOTY right now."
AOTY? Then they really do deserve a deeper listen... ...too bad it still doesn't click with me.

Good ol' Nick reviewing this?
Then they must be doing something right. Something that I just fail to understand, maybe?
Listening to the complete thing and trying to focus on the songs that you have mentionend again right now, but I just can't help it.
It has Arch Enemy, Children Of Bodom and Wintersun written all over it - and I'm not really talking about their good moments. Just too much of keyboard-laden "casio metal" to match my taste.

Nevertheless, I like your review. It's all true and the Kalmah reference is spot-on, too.

The only thing that makes me wonder is that you seem to separate Melodeath and melodic death metal from each other.
I always considered Melodeath to be just an abbreviation of the latter.
Have I been mistaken for the last 30 years?
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15.05.2019 - 16:38
nikarg
Old Nick
Written by Starvynth on 15.05.2019 at 13:29

The only thing that makes me wonder is that you seem to separate Melodeath and melodic death metal from each other.
I always considered Melodeath to be just an abbreviation of the latter.
Have I been mistaken for the last 30 years?

No, you haven't really been mistaken. It's just my arbitrary way to differentiate death metal that has much melody in it and I generally like a lot (early Amorphis, Arghoslent, etc) to melodic metal that has growling vocals which I generally don't prefer (Aephanemer, Arch Enemy, etc).

I understand how this doesn't work for you and it's not that I have it myself on daily rotation. To use the pizza example, 19 out of 20 times I won't order a Hawaiian pizza; but that one time when I do, it will be Aephanemer
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17.05.2019 - 13:37
Starvynth
i c deaf people
Written by nikarg on 15.05.2019 at 16:38

No, you haven't really been mistaken. It's just my arbitrary way to differentiate death metal that has much melody in it and I generally like a lot (early Amorphis, Arghoslent, etc) to melodic metal that has growling vocals which I generally don't prefer (Aephanemer, Arch Enemy, etc).

I understand how this doesn't work for you and it's not that I have it myself on daily rotation. To use the pizza example, 19 out of 20 times I won't order a Hawaiian pizza; but that one time when I do, it will be Aephanemer

I always wondered how broadly the term "Melodeath" is being used.
I mean, what do bands like Carcass, The Black Dahlia Murder, Arch Enemy, Be'lakor, Deadlock, Unleashed, Hollenthon, Rapture, old Sentenced and Kalmah have in common? Hardly anything I'd say.

But now that you've said it, dividing them into two main groups analogous to your definition would make quite some sense...

That Hawaiian pizza thing is a very telling and visual example! Anyway, whenever I am hungry for pizza with some exotic fruits and sweetness, I'll order pepperoni pizza with jalapeño peppers - and a coke.
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