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US band Apostle Of Solitude have been plying their Trad Doom sound for nearly 20 years, seemingly finding more favour in European territories than their homeland. As their 6th album, ''Until The Darkness Goes', sees release, Comrade Aleks asked drummer Corey about that, and more.

Interview with Apostle Of Solitude.
"Good old Apostle Of Solitude were part of the Trad Doom renaissance back in the late '00s, or so it seemed from my blurred point of view. And yet the fact this band has existed since 2004, and has five full albums in its discography proves its worth to the American Doom scene. Well... the American Doom scene… I still wonder why most US Trad Doom bands are more popular in Europe. For example, Apostle's first albums were on German label Eyes Like Snow and later stuff was released by Italian Cruz Del Sur Music - Trad music seems to be a more comfortable thing for the Old World. We should probably discuss it, and actually we will - with Apostle's drummer Corey Webb, who's here to tell about the band's new album, 'Until The Darkness Goes'."

Apostle Of Solitude: Steve Janiak (guitars, vocals), Corey Webb (drums), Chuck Brown (guitars, vocals), Mike Naish (bass).

Hail Corey! How are you? Accept my congratulations on the arrival of your fifth album 'Until the Darkness Goes'! Do you have an option to support the release with a gig?

Thank you very much, Aleks, and hello from Indianapolis on this dreary autumn day. We are all healthy and well, all things considered. We do hope to schedule some sort of album release show, but since it is obviously a bit difficult to plan or schedule this sort of thing given the current state of affairs, we have not yet planned this. Due to the delays at most all the vinyl pressing plants, the LP version of the new album won't be released until early next year, so it may work out best to plan an album release show at that time. We also plan on touring to support the album both in the US and abroad once that sort of thing is less risky.

Today is a day when Facebook is out of our reach, but I've found on your official site that Apostle of Solitude performed 'Sincerest Misery (1,000 Days)' live on December 13th 2020 for Mutants III: Revenge of the Mutants. What was this show? How big was your set?

This was a virtual livestream "micro fest" organized by our friend CT from Rwake / Deadbird. We just did this one song as part of that online event. The song is like 15-minuts long, so I suppose that was a 15-minute set, ha. This past summer, we played 4 other songs as part of the Mutants IV online event, including "The Union" from the new album. There were tons of great bands on both events, from Arkansas and elsewhere, and both events are available on YouTube.

What was the feedback like for these shows? Does that method of communication work in this situation? Actually I recall Godthrymm's live video session and it's just killer! As well as a cover of Type O Negative's 'Everyone I Love Is Dead' amazingly performed by members of Paradise Lost, Pallbearer, Spirit Adrift, Candiria and Metal Injection online.

The livestream thing obviously isn't as cool as an actual live show, but I was happy to see bands use this alternative as a way to keep the flame burning, especially during the height of the quarantine last year. For the Mutants of the Monster microfest, the other bands on that event were amazing, and the sets were inspired, great sound and video quality, etc., and with it having the feeling of a live event, it was fun to watch and to participate in. During 2020 I also did a few cover songs "quarantine style" with friends from Chile and Sweden. Sort of an around the world virtual jam. Along with some of the guys from King Heavy, Mourners Lament, Suffering Dusk, The Ancient Doom, Quicksand Dream, Marchafunebre, Infernal Thorns, Mortajas, Concatenatus, Sol Sistere, Trimegisto, Inanna, Infernal Thorns we did Under The Sun by Black Sabbath, Steeler by Judas Priest, and Doom Over the World by Reverend Bizarre. All 3 videos are available on YouTube, I believe, if you'd like to check them out. Those videos, along with the Mutants of the Monster events, were fun, and a nice way to have a small connection to playing "live" during the quarantine.

Various Artists - 'Under The Sun' (Livestream Cover, 2020):

Well, so it's your fifth album over almost 17 years, how far did you go from 'Sincerest Misery', recorded back in 2008? How much of that original Apostle is left in the new material?

Similar to anything one might reflect on over a long span of time, in some ways it seems like 17 years have gone by in the blink of an eye, and in other ways it seems as if it were a hundred years ago. Of course with any band that lasts more than a couple albums there will be a natural evolution of the music, and I'm sure that is true for Apostle of Solitude as well. That said, I believe that same feeling you get from the first album is a constant thread throughout the subsequent 4 albums. I believe our sound and the songwriting have evolved and matured, but that same theme, and the idea we first pursued with Sincerest Misery is still very much there.

Traditional Doom is quite an orthodox genre, though some bands find their own way to add something individual to it. How do you see Apostle of Solitude from this point?

I think the vocal harmonies between Chuck and Steve are probably one of the more obvious things that set Apostle of Solitude apart from other bands in this genre. Since the very beginning, though we had that proclivity towards music that falls appropriately under the "doom metal" tag, we have always been cognizant about not placing limitations on how we convey that feeling in the songs. The feeling and emotions expressed in the music have always been 100% honest and from our hearts, which is easy to do if you don't start out saying "ok, it needs to sound THIS way". There are plenty of "paint by numbers" / formulaic bands out there (and I enjoy some of them), but we find more enjoyment and fulfillment when we go our own way. We really do primarily make this music for ourselves simply because we enjoy it and crave the artistic expression, so when others appreciate it as well that's a bonus for us.

Speaking about "doom metal"… I did another re-review for 'Reverend Bizarre II: Crush the Insects' for one Russian site and among the few comments I've seen there… there was one like "where did you find doom here?!" from a commentator obviously pointed somewhere in a Doom/Death direction. How would you describe Doom Metal for such ignorant ones? Besides "doom is Black Sabbath's song 'Black Sabbath' from the 'Black Sabbath' album"?

Oh man, I am horrible when it comes to talking about music, ha. Doom metal for me has always been about the feeling. It needs to be honest, and I think with all of the great bands that comes through in the music. If the music is honest and sincere, and has a certain "heaviness" either from the sound or the feeling you get from the music, you're on the right path. In my own opinion, there isn't a formula or one specific way to do it, but it must be HEAVY. Anyone can write a sad song at 40 beats per minute; making it interesting, enjoyable to listen to, and dare I say a bit catchy, is a different task. That heaviness is most important in the sincerity of the vocal delivery and the themes. Crushing drums and ice cold guitar riffs played through loud amplifiers help. : ) I don't know, man. That's just my take on the whole thing. Like I said, I'm no purist or music nerd. Ask some kid at a show in a Sabbath shirt, and you're likely to get a completely different take, ha.

Live in Texas.

'Until the Darkness Goes' is to be released by Italian label Cruz del Sur Music, just as 'From Gold to Ash'. And it seems that since the '90s, the Old World has been more interested in Doom metal than the USA. Do you feel the same? Why do you think it is?

This will be our third album with Cruz Del Sur ("Of Woe and Wounds was our first album with this label), and we are immensely grateful for the support we've received from the label. Regarding the greater appeal that metal in general has overseas, we do see that. With the rise of the internet / information age the lines can be a bit blurry (there's probably a "doom metal" band in every little country town on the map), but the distinction is especially apparent when we play in Europe. Our previous European tours have been very satisfying both with regard to the friends and fans we have made in those countries, but also the support and audiences at the shows. So I agree, but your guess is as good as mine why it is that way, ha.

Just a very vague idea! You're located in Indiana - from my (ignorant) point of view logistically it's a comfortable position. What can you tell about your experience of touring with Apostle in the USA? Which features of touring here would you point out?

Touring anywhere is great, in my opinion. Our prior US tours have focused mostly on the east coast states, the south, and of course the Midwest. We tend to have a slightly larger following on the east coast (closer to the doom capital of Maryland?), but the last couple of southern US tours the crowds have grown a bit. Touring in Europe is exciting of course. It's just such a unique experience.

Apostle Of Solitude - 'Apathy In Isolation' (2021):

It's said the album was recorded at Russian Recording in Bloomington, well, for a start that's an interesting name for the studio. Do you know the story behind it?

Well, our friend and studio engineer Mike Bridavsky is from Russia. Not sure if there is some more exciting story behind the name; you will have to ask Mike that question. : ) Mike has recorded and mixed all 5 of our albums, and has an ear for what we do.

And for sure I'll ask him when he's ready to release his own stuff! Well, there are sound engineers who do interfere in recording process and can save the situation, as well as those who let bands do their own things. How do you work with Mike?

Mike Bridavsky knows what we're going for with each album, and while he certainly defers to the band, he also plays an important part with each record with regard to how we achieve our goals. In a way, he's a bit of a fifth member of the band when it's time to record.

In the studio.

How much time did you spend there recording 'Until the Darkness Goes'? Was it relaxed or stressful sessions with rush and tight schedule?

Well when we were finally able to schedule the sessions, we completed the recording in about 5 consecutive days, and then returned to do the mixing over the course of another 3 consecutive days at the studio. The time leading up to the recording was a bit stressful because we had to postpone or reschedule multiple times due to fluctuating factors associated with the pandemic during 2020. One member of the band also lost both parents during this time, which obviously added an additional layer of stress. Both the studio and the label were absolutely supportive and understanding with our moving target over the past year. One positive aspect of having to postpone the recording session was that we were able to refine and rehearse the songs even more so than usual. The songs and parts are always fairly complete and well-rehearsed when we get to the studio, but that was especially true this time around. So we were able to relax and truly enjoy the process of making an album, without worrying about how a certain part should be played, etc.

You came out with a relatively short album, it's just 36 minutes long. Was it just enough for you to say everything you wanted to say?

It was. I used the word "refine" earlier, and I think that's a good representation of what this album represents to us, in a way. While we made the decision early on that this might be a more focused album, we didn't necessarily discuss what the overall playtime of the album would be. We just wrote the songs as they happened, and continued to refine them over the course of time leading up to the recording.

Don't you have any songs left from this session? Do you have maybe somesplit-album on your mind? That would be nice again, just like back then…

We have 3 new songs that we are already molding, but they aren't left over from the Until The Darkness Goes sessions. And yes, there actually is a plan to collaborate with another artist, but the details of that aren't yet public. So stay tuned!

There's 'Apathy in Isolation' song, and this title fits well for our time. How much did the quarantine influence on you during your work over Until the Darkness Goes besides obvious delay with its publication?

During the early months of 2020, when the world was still figuring out how to function, there were a couple of months where we didn't get together. This is unusual for us, because otherwise we have rehearsed on the same day of the week, at the same time, for the past 17 years. Once we were able to safely resume rehearsing, we resumed where we'd left off. As the title of both that song and the album itself reflect, I think the quarantine and the social and global unrest of the past year (or longer) certainly did have an influence on the music. Like most of the world, the quarantine time was a bit of a "reset" on our lives, and we were probably a bit more introspective with regard to how we expressed ourselves on this record. "Until The Darkness Goes" might be a good way to describe the sentiment that we all felt during the writing of the album.

Apostle Of Solitude - 'Sincerest Misery' (Live, 2020):

Do you believe things will return to their old ways? It's hard to believe when the world is just crumbling down and the last days are upon us more than ever.

I'm not sure that things will ever be exactly the same, but yes, I think we will return to some degree of normalcy.

Also, do you see 'Until the Darkness Goes' as a rather optimistic experience? Metal Archives still states that Apostle of Solitude are about "Pain, Solitude, Sorrow, Agony", but it seems like there's a light at the end of the album.

Overall, I do see the album as an optimistic experience. Any sort of emotionally driven art of course has a cathartic aspect, but as humans we are not hopeless. There is hope and the opportunity to do good in this crazy world, and that hope is what drives us to continue doing what we do.

Sounds good, so it seems right to stop at this point. Thank you for the interview Corey. Would you like to add a few more words?

Thank you, Aleks. Speaking for the rest of the band, we are so very sincerely appreciative of your support. That goes for all of our friends and fans around the world who have supported us in our endeavors over the past 17 or so years. Please spend some time with the new album once it's released via Cruz Del Sur next month. Until next time, my friend.

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Visit the Apostle Of Solitude bandpage.

Interviewed on 2021-12-07 by Comrade Aleks Evdokimov.
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