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Portland black rock 'n' rollers slay with "Broke Till Payday"

by | Jun 8, 2022

Broke Till Payday 

Apollyon is a band we need these days. Portland’s store of heavy rock groups has been running low lately. Yes, the mighty Ogre still stalks this land, Pigboat yet sails the sludgy seas, and Murcielago continues to blow the doors off every venue they play, but Eldemur Krimm is on a long journey to the edge of a flat planet, and Covered in Bees hasn’t murdered anyone in years. 

Into this void leaps Apollyon, a four-piece from the Forest City whose previous albums were more black metal than black rock ’n’ roll. The distinction is subtle but key. Like the Bees’ “death punk” style, Apollyon brings metal shredding and mean vocals to their hard-driving rock songs. Think Motörhead, early Crüe, or any other umlaut-abusing band that rips your face off for fun. 

Apollyon delivers the staples in spades: meaty, sinewy riffs and searing solos; a cyclone of drumming and vocals drooling malice. There’s nothing artistic happening here, no prog tricks or concepts, just loud and dirty songs about being bad ass. The bombastic opener, “Filthy Love,” is like, Oh, you thought that was the guitar break? Hell no — it’s called “the second half of the song.” We ride the lightning till the end, then pummel you with a double-bass-drum coda until your eyes blacken. The title track is a ripper for blue-collar Mainers to scream along to. “Sidewinder” rides a Harley-worthy guitar figure headlong into “On the Lam,” which smashes itself to pieces in a headbanging fit. 

There’s a brief respite toward the end of this lean seven-track release, the Spaghetti Western take “High Noon,” and “Epitaph,” the six-minute-plus closer, flirts with heavy-metal balladry, but then it stage-dives into an orgy of six-string excess that your girlfriend probably won’t like at all. If she does dig it, marry that one, but be forewarned: she will put up with zero shit, smoke your last cigarette, and dump your tattooed ass for a hipster stockbroker in five years. But you’ll always have Apollyon.  

Apollyon plays a tape release party for Broke Till Payday on June 17 at Geno’s (625 Congress St., Portland). 

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