Another day and another underground Death Metal band from Germany, or to be more precise, two this time around. Both APHELION and DISMAL must be considered to belong to the underground Death Metal scene. DISMAL is now disbanded and is without doubt the weakest band on this split, as they play a sort of SIX FEET UNDER Death Metal with a truly horrible sound that's unable to capture any of the power and punch that this kind of Death Metal has to possess if I'm supposed to like it. APHELION plays a more interesting form of Death Metal with variety and a sound quality that does the music justice. Both of these bands share the same vocalist, Ron, who also is in a band called DEPRESSION according to Suffer Productionsí internet site.
For the most parts APHELION does a fairly good job in playing Death Metal. The vocals that Ron performs are good, though the clean vocals of Skaldir must be considered as a flaw. The guitar sound and many of the riffs are good, which is essential when creating a Death Metal album. I don't see a drummer credited in either the booklet or on Suffer Productionsí web pages, so I guess they've used a drum machine and I must say that they've done a good job. APHELION has also found place for a cover song for a band that has released one really good album, that band is COMECON and the song is "Dog Day". It's easy to hear that it is a COMECON song, though APHELION has managed to inject something of their own sound into it as well, just the way covers should be done. The album of COMECON that I would like to recommend is "Converging Conspiracies", a hidden gem in my opinion.
APHELION's weakness at the moment is in my opinion their lack of focus, it seems like they want to do too much at the same time. Previously in my review I wrote that APHELION played Death Metal with variety and I still hold on to that I like variety, but some of transitions from mellow to brutal, or the other way around, just don't fit together, making it sound like two different bands sometimes. I would like APHELION to focus and try to make the different passages fit more neatly together. All in all a fairly good Death Metal album performed by competent musicians. 6/10
When it comes to the music of DISMAL, however, I'm afraid I don't have many words of praise to pass out. The best part of the music is the vocals of Ron, who somehow manages to sound good though the overall sound quality is bad. As I've written before sound quality isn't always alpha omega, but when it comes to this kind of Death Metal it's very important to get a production that gives the music the punch it deserves. Not only is the guitar sound under par, the drums sound like they are played on empty paint cans. If the sound quality were better, DISMAL would be as good as SIX FEET UNDER in my opinion, not that I really liked SIX FEET UNDER in the first place (except when they play live). I guess that there are some people out there who'll appreciate the music of DISMAL, especially those who are after underground Death Metal only. I really haven't anything more to say about DISMAL as the songs follow the same recipe through the whole album. Old School Death Metal with an underground sound quality sums it up. 4/10 (Online October 26, 2005)