Despite their somewhat misleading moniker that means black bile in English, Atræ Bilis couldn’t possibly have less in common with the feeling of melancholy their name refers to. Moreover, their technical, synthetic, at moments even groovy sound is seemingly more suitable for Unique Leader’s roster than the 20 Buck Spin’s. Lastly, the front cover of Apexapien, made by illustrious Eliran Kantor, radiates a certain mystic, obscure, occult feel that one would hardly associate with this particular variety of modern sounding death metal. It seems that Atræ Bilis don’t respect the boundaries and incorporate everything and anything that constitutes the genre’s contemporary landscape in one way or another, either in terms of sound or aesthetically. Still, none of this works to their advantage.
Notwithstanding the indisputable technical ability these guys possess, and the fact that their insanely busy music seldom sits still for more than a couple of seconds, their sound still feels devoid of any kind of authenticity or intrigue. It is truly unbelievable that so many notes and sonic contrasts were ultimately unable to give birth to anything truly memorable and genuinely interesting. Not implying that modern necessarily equals distasteful, Atræ Bilis are unfortunately modern in a way that is synonymous with being cool, something that a death metal band with a minimum of self-respect should never aspire to be. Covering everything from early Suffocation to present day Gorguts, with hints of melodeath and deathcore watering down that otherwise impressively wide amplitude of influences, Atræ Bilis sadly end up sounding like a pale rendition of the bands they build their identity upon. Apexapien also suffers from borderline sterile production which feels way too clean and polished, bereft of warmth and human feel.
The only upside as it pertains to Apexapien is the Atræ Bilis’ Serbian born drummer whose dexterous, intense playing serves as the backbone that holds this album upright. However, it’s the weak muscles attached to that solid spine that unfortunately render his efforts rather futile.
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