German Death Metal veterans, Purgatory return with their 9th full length, Apotheosis of Anti Light, due out on the 1st of April 2022 via War Anthem Records.
Recorded in December 2021 at Musical Massacre´s Studio by Lukas Haidinger & Purgatory, mastered by Patrick W. Engel at Temple of Disharmony and featuring artwork by Bahrull Marta, Apotheosis of Anti Light offers brutal death metal, from the underground, for the underground. In their own special Purgatory way, expect the 5 piece to deliver murderous riffs and intense growls to create an album of total chaos. Following up their 2016 release, the equally chaotic, Omega Void Tribunal, Purgatory are on fine form and while other bands explore and expand on sounds and ideas, these guys are here to keep you grounded and just melt your fucking faces off.
Purgatory are Dreier on vocals, René Kögel on guitars and vocals, Wolfgang Rothbauer on guitars, Nico Solle on bass and Lutz Götzold on drums. Apotheosis of Anti Light also sees guest vocals from RS (Lie in Ruins), SB (Rumours) and A. Deathmonger.
Purgatory take no time to settle in instead exploding instantly into a melee of brawling riffs, drums and vocals within seconds of (We Declare) War starting. It’s filthy, fast and furious music – intense and aggressive with riffs that require a mosh pit and insane vocal depth. A little backing clean vocal in the chorus is a nice surprise. Short lived though as we head back into brutality in a flurry of fiery fury. It’s a fantastic opener. Really setting out the band’s intent early on but alos offering little pleasing moments amid the dirt through a constantly shifting vocal tone and punctuating lead guitars. Accused, Sentenced and Buried Alive keeps the darkness flowing with a wicked tapping drum before exploding with guttural grind vocals and speed riffing. The blast beats are on point in a relentless assault of aggression and anger.
Ropes In November (Samhain’s Curse Part III) is heavy. That’s not a surprise. I love the verse tempo though – viciously heavy but with a good headbanging rhythm even if the drums are going a million miles per hour in the backing. A reappearance of the clean backing really elevates the track. It works so well in the foggy gloom of aggression Purgatory are spitting out on Apotheosis of Anti Light thus far. Music that just begs for a pit. The Moaning Of Dismal Halls takes a bit of a breather in the intro for all of about 20 seconds before a volcanic eruption of aggression with every instrument smacking you at once. It’s almost a bit too much but then little intermittent lead guitars come in and pull you back from the cliff edge just in time. Clever stuff this, it’s way more than just insanely heavy.
We Were Forced Astray is maybe my favourite track so far, full of “bleurgh” noises and more of the same intensity and speed but it has something magical about it too. I love the way the bass, drums and guitars play off each other to create a cacophonous sound. The deep, dirty growled vocals blend in like another instrument. The little switch into a heavy groove sound instantly got my headbanging without me even realising it. It’s a banger. Deny! Deny!! Deny!!! refuses to let you catch your breath in another rip roaring attack. The lead guitars shine bright on this track though, giving just enough of a change to prevent repetition settling in. The vocals are so impressive – absolutely devilish but the mix of tones keeps it all so fresh and the speedier delivery here is very impactful.
Expectato Solis may sound like a spell from Harry Potter but it won’t surprise you to know that it is yet another unstoppable force of death metal. Employing a but more groove and a touch of melody in the intro, it soon turns into a technical riff and speedy but infectious drum beat. Within all this heaviness, it is easy to miss just how much variety there is, subtle but definite, across Apotheosis of Anti Light. The chorus here is pure epicness, huge, drawn out and with clean shouted backing, it genuinely raised the hairs on my arms. Damn.
We near the end of Apotheosis of Anti Light with the penultimate track, God Loves None Of You. A huge 5 and half minute feral blast of anger and frustration that comes ion waves. Blasting ferocity transforms into morose melody then into slamming groove and back to the ferocity. It’s a writhing, twisting and transforming beastly song. Again little lead guitar lines break the darkness at times, and that is really useful in preventing the song from being too much. For the most part though, the track passes in seconds leaving you a little battered and breathless. So we reach the closer with Pantheon Of Slaughters. If I thought 5 and a half minutes was long for this genre, well check out this 7 minute plus monster.
No surprises really here but again the extra length just allows Purgatory to bring in every possible element, tempo and tone they have displayed across Apotheosis of Anti Light into a single monster. Intense drums and filthy bass lines join forces with aggressive riffing and frightening vocals to create an insane feeling of dread and darkness that encloses you. Little breaks through lead guitars, tone switches and melody make it all just about bearable leaving you feeling both gobsmacked yet elated as it fades out and closes the album.
After all this time, and all the effort over the years, Purgatory are still absolutely killing it. Apotheosis of Anti Light isn’t just a good Purgatory album, it is a brilliant death metal album. Leading the way even after all this time, in 2022, these guys are the masters of what they do and Apotheosis of Anti Light is an example of how to be relevant, exciting yet still as brutal as anyone else out there. A proper, neck breaking, adrenaline spiking beats of death metal and one of the most exciting death metal releases you will here this year.
Don’t miss out. Grab your copy from War Anthem, here.
Apotheosis Of Anti Light by Purgatory (War Anthem Records)
The Final Score - 9/10