Aposento – Conjuring the New Apocalypse (2020)REVIEW

Remembered as a curio of the admittedly scarce early death metal pantheon in northern Spain, and among maybe three or four hailing from the Logroño area, Aposento formed in 1990 for the sake of the late 80’s and early 90’s extreme metal that inspired them. No matter what angle you approach their 90’s demos and 2010’s revival from there is no doubt these guys never lost sight of that core inspiration and definitely never put out a record that wasn’t pure death metal. With that said, I’m not at all suggesting all of their material is good but we’ll get to that soon enough. For folks like me who’d discovered the band through old demo tape rips shared online during the the early 2000’s, Aposento‘s first demo (‘Bloody Ritual‘, 1992) was an incredibly rare find that’d showcase a very young band’s still-developing rhythmic capabilities beyond thrash metal extremity. The real gem was their second tape (‘Eternal Agony‘, 1993) a demo that saw original drummer Diego Díaz (Fossor) getting the brutality and timing of death metal squared away for the defining release from the band from that point on. You can still hear fundamental echoes of that second demo on their third (and best) full-length album ‘Conjuring the New Apocalypse’ today but it has been a long and strange trip getting back to that point of circa ’93 primal savagery.

During my short-lived attempt to collect original run copies of (typically) very limited Spanish old school death metal releases it was Aposento‘s first official EP before splitting up (‘Welcome to Darkness‘, 1997) that’d eluded me at a reasonable price. Solid late-to-the-party ‘old school’ death metal with dry production, tons of riffs, and unforgettable album artwork all made the out-of-reach CD all the more memorable. That’d be the only reason I knew who they were when the band released their debut full-length (‘Aposento‘, 2014) a couple of years after reforming. Old school Spanish death metal beyond certain death/thrash metal classics is nigh universally brutal in nature and Aposento were never an exception to that rule in the 90’s or when thier hammering-but-ancient style carried into the 2010’s with some slight modern updates coming into play. We’ve seen a similar type of ‘growing pain’ for the returning spirits of Unbounded Terror, Obscene, and even Canker in recent years but to be fair there were no real expectations for Aposento as they’d never released a full-length or any retrospective compilations in the past. The riffs were pretty standard, the vocals weren’t up to snuff on that debut though they’d improve on the follow up (‘Bleed to Death‘, 2017) and for sure Aposento didn’t hit a meaningful stride until this heaviest and most professional third album.

As much as I love to scour the history of classic death metal bands with a long and interesting provenance none of it really matters in the long run if they don’t have riffs or, some interesting perspective (then or now) to offer beyond the hordes. That’d be where I’d stumbled with ‘Conjuring the New Apocalypse’ upon the first few listens, appreciating the powerful traditional death metal sound and high standard of quality applied to the render (via Dan Swanö at Unisound Studios) but finding no real deep impression left by the compositions beyond some similarities with older Blood Red Throne and the admittedly mixed-bag of post-2010 Sinister — Admittedly not the worst place to be in terms of death metal. It took about 3-4 full listens before I began to take the album at face value and appreciate how much Aposento had improved every aspect of their craft for this third record; Irreligious and occult themed lyrics delivered within varied yet far more consistent vocal performances from Mark Berserk, some of the most inventive and heaviest riffs from guitarist Manolo Sáez to date, and similarly peak work from Gabriel Valcázar (Wormed, Bizarre) all make for an above average experience at the very least.

“Vamachara – The Left Hand Path”, “Kadosh – Spitting on the Trisag” and single “Dweller on the Threshold” all serve as general highlights though each manifests as a sort of island of inspirations whereas most of the surrounding material is either nearly as good or fairly standard when it comes down to riffs and/or sheer memorability. Despite not finding the songwriting inspiring everything else about Aposento‘s third album is class and most definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for straight death metal without any trends or sub-genre extras tagging along. Moderate recommendation.

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Artist Aposento
Type Full-length
Released May 5, 2020
BUY & LISTEN on Xtreem Music’s Bandcamp! Aposento on Facebook
Genre Death Metal

Moderate recommendation. 3.5/5.0

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