APOGEION – ASTROLATRIA I: INITIATIO. (Northern Heritage Records)

I was tempted to observe that Northern Heritage is on a rich run of form right now but in fairness it’s been going on for decades so it’s almost a given at this stage that the releases on this unparalleled label are going to be pretty special. With ‘Astrolatria I: Initiatio.’, the debut full-length of Apogeion, Mikko has pulled another black gem seemingly from out of nowhere – or from the infinite void of time and space, perhaps.

Featuring five murky interstellar transmissions deciphered from another realm and with a total running time of almost 42 earth minutes, ‘Astrolatria I: Initiatio.’ is a nightmarish voyage through the pitch black galaxies, malevolently traversing a cosmic time continuum somewhere between Beherit and Darkspace. Not of this dimension or plane, the music is for sure an otherworldly emanation, the extra-terrestrial emissions accompanied by ghastly, not-human vocals to create an unnerving experience that defies both logic and description.

Fascinating lyrics and majestic artwork / depictions complete a wonderful package, Apogeion announcing their arrival from beyond with a truly superb maiden recording, best listened to in total darkness, in the company of no human filth. Intergalactic gurgles and cosmic chaos merge to exhilarating effect on ‘I. Canis Maior i. e. Syrius.’ followed swiftly by the haunting horror and mercurial majesty of ‘II. Antecanis i. e. Procion.’ –  a great start and so it continues throughout the vastness and stark, surreal solitude of ‘Astrolatria I: Initiatio.’. The twelve-minute denouement ‘V. Cauda Capricorni i. e. Deneb Algedi.’ feels like an immense astrophysical ritualistic purging in the wake of the almost-shamanic ‘IV. Alchameth i. e. Arcturus.

The (predominantly) twisted vocals are the crudest element here. Otherwise the futuristic, cold and mechanical, mostly-mid-paced soundscape is rather pleasing on the ear. All in all, this is a bizarre and cryptic exploration of the unimaginable darkness that lies all around us delivered in reverence to the stars from whence we came. As ‘Astrolatria I: Initiatio.’ is but the opening instalment in a trilogy that upon completion will cover all Behenian fixed stars , there’s much more madness yet to come from the enigmatic aliens of Apogeion.

Evilometer: 666/666