review published: 6/22/2015
Apoapsis is a metalcore/progressive metal band based in Connecticut and Balance is their debut EP.
After an instrumental intro track, the record begins with "Standing Tide," the strongest track on the album. Apoapsis employ a dual vocal attack with one vocalist taking the clean vocals and another handling the screaming/growling duties. Interestingly, and unlike many other bands that take this approach, the clean vocals aren't used just in a melodic break or a chorus section and are mostly worked well into the songs. This is especially evident on "Standing Tide"; the vocalists shift along with the song's structure, jumping from the heavier to more melodic sections. Halfway through, Apoapsis drop off into an atmospheric section, providing a nice break. It's a tool they use throughout the record and works particularly well in this track.
"Forward Motion" leans toward the heavier side of Apoapsis' repertoire. Balancing the more chaotic chuggier riffs with a catchy hook, the band glides seamlessly between sections. Again, they offer a clean guitar mid-section before closing on the chorus.
Sitting right in the middle, "Don't Hold Back" is the band's most ambitious outing and also where the record begins to fall apart. After a pleasant sounding intro, Apoapsis move through a heavier groove riff and a cleanly sung chorus before hanging too long on an instrumental bridge where nothing in particular happens. The band works their way through an awkwardly placed guitar solo and breakdown before coming back to end on the chorus.
On the second half of the EP, Apoapsis lose their focus. "From Within" sounds like a work in progress. The song clumsily moves between its sections. Incoherent rhythm changes plague the track, causing it to sound like a collection of leftover riffs.
The title track and closer brings the band back to their roots, but still suffers from similar issues as "From Within." The vocalists seem lost in the jumble of the song's structure, stumbling through their lines before things conclude on a fairly uninspired breakdown.
The production of the record does Apoapsis no favors. There is an overall softness to Balance that takes away from its climactic moments and causes the album to just sort of meander. The band comes off sounding like they're playing far away from the vocalists.
Bottom Line: There are some moments on Balance that make Apoapsis intriguing, but the EP suffers overall from a subpar production and a reliance upon clichés.
Track Listing: 01. Ballistic 02. Standing Tide 03. Forward Motion 04. Don't Hold Back 05. From Within 06. Balance