Apostle of Solitude @ The Bug Jar, Rochester, NY, July 22, 2010

By Jared Hynes

There aren’t many active bands at the moment I would travel 4 hours one way to see live on a weeknight but Rochester, NY was the closest stop to London, Ontario, Canada on Apostle of Solitude’s current summer tour. Since their first album Sincerest Misery was released, I’ve been captivated by AoS’ brand of doom metal and a new favorite band was born. This year’s Last Sunrise release built on and surpassed the first album for me, forming a damn near obsession for the record as it didn’t leave my music rotation for close to two months. So when I heard they were doing a short summer tour, I had to experience these guys in a live setting as I figured the new songs would make for a very heavy and emotional evening.

The Bug Jar in Rochester is a cozy little bar with the stage in a back room that wouldn’t be able to hold 100 people tightly packed in, the sound however is absolutely massive and clear surprisingly. From the first couple chords of “Acknowledging the Demon,” the hair on my arms was standing up and adding to that Chuck Brown’s soulful, melodic vocals, all expectations of AoS live were justified. Unfortunately the vocals were buried slightly as the rest of the bands instruments were pummeling the place. Chuck later revealed that his voice was not 100% either and talking to him after the show, it was apparent he must have been really struggling to pull off the songs vocally. However, I couldn’t tell during their set as he was giving it his all and, despite not hitting a couple higher screams, he sounded bang on. Second guitarist Justin Avery was also having technical difficulties with his amp that wasn’t noticeable until the music stopped and you could hear it rumbling.

The set consisted of all Last Sunrise material except for “The Messenger” off Sincerest Misery and a yet to be released song planned for a future split vinyl release. The new song, which name escapes me (“Death By Misadventure” – Da Ed) was extremely heavy, mid paced, not in the doom vein but still full on metal. Apparently the new split is coming in a couple vinyl formats (7”, 12”) later in the year.

Bands of the doom genre usually aren’t about theatrics or running around the stage and rely mainly on the sheer crushing heaviness of the music to enhance the experience and this was the case tonight. The size of the stage didn’t allow for much movement but Chuck seemed to be really feeling the heaviness of the riffs he was playing.

Due to the band hitting the stage late, they had to cut their set short for the DJ coming in to close the night. A couple songs were cut off but they closed the show with “Coldest Love,” one of the heaviest songs I’ve ever heard, and I can’t help but think that they added it due to me gushing about it to the band before the show. To top off a kick ass show, the merch was ridiculously cheap (any two items, cds and/or shirts, for $15?).

The night may have been cut short and their may have been some technical problems but the band were tight, professional and heavy as hell. It was pleasure not only to see them perform but to meet and chat with as well…humble and very friendly guys who appreciate their fans.

Setlist:
Acknowledging the Demon
Other Voices
The Messenger
Frontiers of Pain
Death By Misadventure
Coldest Love

Sean Palmerston

Sean is the founder/publisher of Hellbound.ca; he has also written about metal for Exclaim!, Metal Maniacs, Roadburn, Unrestrained! and Vice.