Following their wonderfully monstrous debut 2017 EP, Mantras of Self Loathing, Bridge Burner return with a more finely crafted full-length album. Null Apostle is worth a listen if everything else in your life is just not quite heavy enough. The majority of the songs are short and sweet, but, boy, do they make an impact!
Creating an album which is so full-frontal and abrasive to the eardrums must take some serious doing, and those who have the ear for it can decipher the layers and craftsmanship applied. Bridge Burner‘s brand of noisiness is super rich. The guitar tones are a perfectly measured cascade of aggression. The guttural vocals, which emit from virtually every imaginable pitch, are like a distorted instrument in human form. Combine all of this with the ground-shaking percussion and you get the ideal broth of undiluted rage. And yet, Null Apostle somehow seems to get heavier with every track. True that it’s a rather short record, but swiftness is the nature of this beast.
Opening track “The Blood Easily Follows” gives listeners a suitably doomy introduction to the album, almost like it’s a foreboding prologue of what’s yet to come. It also siphons through the varying levels of heaviness Bridge Burner have on offer, from ominously heavy all the way up to bone-grindingly heavy. But the tempo accelerates in second track “The Blood Never Lies” which is a very well orchestrated speed/groove hybrid. It also has some amazing guitar work during its breakdown halfway in. Those inventive crushing harmonies come into play on more than one occasion, and render this music a real standout achievement.
Following this, we get a swift punch to the teeth in the form of “Keehauler”, which amply displays Bridge Burner’s dynamic vocal range. Fourth track “Witches Alone” contains some of the thrashier undertakings of the album, but, as in most occasions on the record, those thunderous blast beats and breakdowns finish things off and ensure we get a full-bodied headbanging experience in the long run.
The crunch continues in “Illness and Loathing” and is accompanied by some wonderfully manic and entertaining vocals. And this leads us on to the moderately more patient “Cultfathers”… ‘moderately’ being the operative word. The song acts as a kind of prelude to the hauntingly melodic “Howling Beneath the Earth”, but that’s not to say that the vocals go any softer. It’s merely a sinister interlude before we move on to the cataclysmic grand finale. Title track “Null Apostle” is the culmination of all of this album’s beastly maneuvers, making this song the ideal send off.
Null Apostle is an extremely engaging endeavor, and on one hand, notably simple in its delivery of heaviness. And yet it shows some remarkable inventiveness in riffage, tone and vocals. Bridge Burner are on a clear, uncompromising mission to rattle our teeth and microwave the marrow in our bones, but there is also a heightened level of expertise gone into the process. Records like this, for all its stomach churning rawness, don’t come about by accident. Null Apostle is not to be taken lightly, nor is it for the faint of ears. It’s nothing less than a formidable force in modern heavy music.
Notable tracks: “The Blood Never Lies”; “Illness and Loathing”; “Null Apostle”
FFO: Knocked Loose; Converge; END