ENDLESS VOID - Apparitions

Endless Void - Apparitions

7 songs
35:10 minutes
***** ***
(self-released)

Bandpage

Four years ago, James Owen released a four track EP titled Apparitions. Two years ago it was padded with a fifth song, and this year, two further tracks have been added, transforming the erstwhile EP into a short LP. In 2013, I reviewed the original EP, and everything that had been written then is still valid today. Now you may wonder if three additional tracks are worth a new review. Be that as it may, but a little addendum is certainly not wrong.

I still donít know much about James Owen. His past endeavours are shadowy at best, and there is hardly any trace of him and of Endless Void (expect for some reviews) on the Internet. Not even a Facebook profile, an outdated Myspace presence or at least a mention on the infamous Metal Archives.

So yes, Endless Void is a solo project that plays some kind of proto doom metal, at times reminding me of the legendary Pentagram, although I hope that James Owen isnít as broken an artist as the tragic Bobby Liebling. But most of all, it all feels like outsider art, as defined by rock journalist Irwin Chusid and his book and CD compilations Songs In The Key Of Z. Outsider musicians are not necessarily untalented, but they always have a personality trait that sets them beyond what is usually considered normal business practices. In the case of James Owen and Endless Void, it has to be said that his vintage doom metal sound is charming and warm and definitely authentic, and it wouldnít take him that much effort to promote it more efficiently in these times and ages, with social networks and what have you. But somehow James Owen stays off the grid, sends self-burned CDs to radio stations and e-zines, all done very amateurishly and yet full of heartís blood. I have a weakness for that kind of attitude, and always have a smile on my face when I encounter one of his new songs.

The two new tracks on Apparitions are the instrumental Doom Metal Superstar, maybe not one of his most essential tracks, but still a fun and entertaining piece of music, and N.D.E. / Inside The Dreamland, which as so often starts with a short intro, this time an atmospheric electric guitar part, followed by one of Endless Voidís typical mid-tempo doom rockers. But letís face it, it is a little too similar in mood and rhythm to the other relatively new track Stars In The Sky.

All in all, Endless Void is wonderful vintage proto doom metal that should appeal to all of those who like the still burgeoning movement between the beginnings with Black Sabbath and the explosion with Cathedral, Candlemass and so many more bands. This is closer to Pentagram, Saint Vitus, Witchfinder General and other neglected occult metal bands from the late Seventies to the early Eighties, a time when James Owen apparently used to start his first own bands. Endless Void are a testament to that era, and at times they sound utterly brilliant. And yet, adding three tracks in four years to the EP doesnít make James Owen the most industrious songwriter. Now we only need to wonder if Apparitions will be extended even more in the future, or if James Owen aka Endless Void will treat us with a truly new EP or longplayer sometime soon. Iíd hope for the latter. The new Apparitions gets one point more than the EP, considering that it is longer and eventually more varied.

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