Sludge metal is often intent on creating a stifling and oppressive atmosphere that overwhelms the listener, but by blending it with the exploratory sensibilities of post-metal, Italian act APNEA are the latest to guide the genre into more expansive territories, creating music that’s heavy and ominous but also cinematic in scope. Formed at the start of 2020 following the dissolution of a former project, the band also cite English neo-crust as a specific influence, along with bands like Fall Of Efrafa, Light Bearer, Morrow, Isis, Cult Of Luna and Converge – shades of all of which can be found on their new EP Stasi.
The release makes for a gripping listener, its brooding atmosphere proving uniquely enthralling and working in tandem with the enigmatic cover of a person drooped over the edge of a brutalist structure like a drying towel, not a hint of colour in sight, to spur contemplation on the monotony of modern life and the ironic loneliness of the cities and towns in which many of us reside. That sense of isolation, along with the band’s slight blackened streak, makes comparisons to White Ward‘s phenomenal Love Exchange Failure fair game – which is a compliment in and of itself.
Check out this incredible EP in full below!
Stasi is a multi-label EP released on 30th April in collaboration with Trepanation Recordings, Esercito della Chiesa Dorata, Fresh Outbreak Records, Zero Produzioni, Drown Within Records and Nihilocus Records. Order here.
Words: George Parr