Apocalyptic Lovers – Redemption Volume I
Apocalyptic Lovers is the reformation of ’90s Youngstown, Ohio-based Love and War. I first wrote about Love and War in my old music publication after catching the band’s Undercurrents showcase in Cleveland in 1994. Subsequently, I reviewed the band’s Undercurrents ’95 set and its War Rages On album. In its early days, Geoff Wilbur’s Renegade Newsletter featured a “Best Unsigned Bands” section, and Love and War made the cut to be included.
Love and War disbanded about 20 years ago but reassembled as Apocalyptic Lovers at Mindrocket Studios in August 2015 to record together again. As buzz about the project grew, the band gained the attention of noted producer Michael Wagener (whose discography includes Motley Crue, Dokken, Poison, Metallica, Ozzy Osbourne, Megadeth, Janet Jackson, and many others), with whom the band gathered to mix the album in November.
Since Apocalyptic Lovers reformed and got back in touch with me, I’ve been anxiously awaiting this opportunity to review the new album.
Album Review of Apocalyptic Lovers: Redemption Volume I
Old-school, blistering axework-filled, high and powerful vocals-driven, classic heavy metal. That’s Apocalyptic Lovers. The band’s style places it firmly on the heavier end of melodic metal, with driving drums, heavy, thumping bass lines, thundering, screaming guitar solos well-integrated within the songs, and forceful-without-shouting vocals that can soar as well. As for the quality of the recordings, I’ve compared the new recordings to 20-year old versions, and the musicianship is even better, as is the recording quality (thanks in part, I’m sure, to Michael Wagener’s expert touch mixing the tracks).
Apocalyptic Lovers is what you’d call an arena rock band. Classic hard rock/metal music you’d expect to hear amid flashing lights at a large-stage concert club.
Though I probably wouldn’t have picked it as the biggest potential hit, heavy, pounding rocker “Killing for a Living” is the song I find most frequently randomly stuck in my head. Its hook isn’t completely obvious, but that makes it nonetheless deadly catchy.
“Change of Frequency” is one of those often (but not always) slow, anthemic heavy rockers. It’s not exactly a ballad, but it’s not a fast song, and its power and strength are built on its mostly-slow pace. It’s a slow-moving heavy metal sledgehammer with drums and axe taking turns doing the dirty work.
The most intriguing song, though, is “The Groove.” It’s a powerful, slow-rocking blues-based heavy rock number. It’s probably my favorite track on the disc, even though it’s not one that pops into my head. But I do love it while I’m listening to it.
The last of the eight tracks on this self-described EP, “Dying Day,” has an aggressive energy that signifies perhaps the angriest-sounding entry of the bunch. Oh, there’s still melody a plenty, and it sports a shredding guitar solo. But an aggressive feeling lurks behind the technical prowess.
From beginning to end, this is one heck of an album, entry one of a long-awaited, unexpected encore that’s really more of a renaissance for this ensemble. Of course, if you want to own this headbanging collection, you’ll have to wait until Saturday to buy it. Apocalyptic Lovers’ Redemption Volume I drops via download, disc, and vinyl on Saturday, April 16th – National Record Store Day.
Per its Facebook “save the date” announcement, Apocalyptic Lovers plans a live showcase/benefit concert on July 23, 2016, somewhere in Ohio, with city and venue to be determined.
The band’s recording plans include several more EPs (if you call 8 songs an EP) containing vintage Love and War material along with a few new songs.