Review / Trespasser – Ἀ​Π​Ο​Κ​Ά​Λ​Υ​Ψ​Ι​Σ

Amid an emerging wave of RABM (red and anarchist black metal) with a disposition towards either synth laden atmosphere or crust punk, Sweden’s Trespasser stand out merely by holding to tradition. Their debut Ч​О​М​У НЕ В​И​Й​Ш​Л​О​? delivered raw, relentless old school black metal about Makhnovist anarchists and locked them a spot as mainstays of the rising tide of leftist metal. Now they return in 2023 with Ἀ​Π​Ο​Κ​Ά​Λ​Υ​Ψ​Ι​Σ, an album with both the fury and maturation to pave the road towards broader appeal.

‘Forward Into The Light!’ bursts out of the gate with the screams of air raid sirens and barrage of double bass and tremolo riffs, a tried and true introduction to any black metal record. The production changes are striking from the get-go, trading out the rawness of the debut for a big mix that’s polished without becoming sterile. The drums sound enormous and every snare and kick hit punch the listener right in the gut in a way black metal doesn’t tend to. 

Sonically Ἀ​Π​Ο​Κ​Ά​Λ​Υ​Ψ​Ι​Σ draws more from the likes of modern Mayhem, Behemoth, and Marduk than from the 90s. ‘Hand in Hand Towards har-Megiddo’ isn’t afraid to play with some traditional rock structures and entwined melodic lines without ceasing to sound dark. Meanwhile ‘The Great Debt-Strike II’ pummels its way almost into death metal territory, barrages of militaristic snare runs abounding.

Trespasser wear their influences on their sleeves for the most part, one can spot the Swedish sound here and the Norwegian sound there and so on. The purist will find a lot to love here, while those looking for something more experimental will be left wanting. Nonetheless, it appears that Trespasser are here to stay.

Ἀ​Π​Ο​Κ​Ά​Λ​Υ​Ψ​Ι​Σ is out now via Red Nebula and can be ordered here.

Words: Brett Tharp

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