Review by Matt Bradley
The soft opening chords of ‘What Are These Dragons?’ set the scene perfectly, as this album has not been forged with smiles in mind. As the drums, vocals and distortion kick in, it becomes apparent that this is a debut album from Derbyshire’s post hardcore quintet that overflowing with emotion. It’s almost impossible to not feel every last ounce of sadness, regret and pain that coursed through vocalist Rob Knowles’ veins when penning the poetic lyrics such as ‘without the pillars of your wisdom, I am but a city burning // Without the chaos of your gravity, I am but an ocean still’. The screams are raw – the end of ‘As Friends’ sticks out as particularly intense – and complimented by guitarist Shaun Hancock’s slightly gravelly backing vocals. Admittedly, some of the backing vocals use similar melodies and the slight drop in pitch at the end of a phrase may grate on some after a few listens, but it is still super catchy.
The clean guitar sounds of Hancock and Robert Purdiew are clear but the distorted guitars severely lack the impact that they need. The sound of the guitars is rather muddy although is possible to hear the notes and chord progressions so all is not lost. Similarly, Tom Hodson’s bass is audible during quiet sections but could do with a bigger presence during the majority of the album. Conversely, the drums (played by the incredibly talented Josh Barrow) sound top quality throughout the thirty eight minute album and Barrow hits the line perfectly between being technical enough to impress and not trying to divert the listener’s attention from the rest of the band.
The passion that emanates from Apparently We Fly’s music is undeniable, as anybody that has seen them on stage will attest to, and it was that passion that led them to winning the recent Deafbox Promotions 2012 BOTB. Despite the slightly sub-par production, Haunting Depths is ten tracks of emotionally charged post hardcore and the genius of the lyrics coupled with the fervor of the delivery definitely makes up for the less than crisp audio.