There are many metal bands who go through enough lineup changes during their tenure to deviate their style to a point where the most current sound is completely unrecognizable to their roots. But every once in a while you’ll experience a band like North Carolina’s Rapheumets Well; within a year only two members remained to rebuild their lineup to not only match, but surpass their niche. In the wake of last year’s full-length ‘Enders Door’, Rapheumets Well have gone from strength to strength with ‘The Elder’s Anthology’.
Rapheumets Well (pronounced “rah-few-mets”; I may or may not be guilty of mispronouncing their name on record once before) are a science fiction fantasy themed metal band featuring formidable elements of symphonic, doom, black, death, and progressive metal. For fans of any or all of the most extreme metal bands currently at their peak, e.g. Dimmu Borgir, Fleshgod Apocalypse, Septicflesh, Black Crown Initiate, and Australia’s own Rise Of Avernus, Rapheumets Well could very well be your new favorite band. You’re welcome.
‘The Elder’s Anthology’ initiates the newest members into the band by reigniting the spark that brought ‘Dimensions’, ‘The Exile’, and ‘Enders Door’ to life. Now armed with a new guitarist and bassist, Rapheumets Well also introduces a dual female lead to the fold; Shay Hecate, with growls deeper than the vast multiverse explored in the lyrics, and Taylor Maltba, whose bittersweet operatics take me back to the earliest days of Sirenia.
Rapheumets Well’s constant, drummer Joshua “Nassaru” Ward, continues to add intermittent layers of harmonious clean vocals which made their sound so unique, and they’re still far from diluted even with the extensive lineup shift.
‘The Elder’s Anthology’ recreates highlights from the band’s previous three albums, beginning with Resurrecting the Blood Gate; we are met with brief, misleading clean guitars before the blood gate quickly opens to unleash the full force of Rapheumets Well. The entire album showcases the band’s intense guitars and drums, versatile vocals, and symphonic depth that ranges from classic and theatrical to 80’s-inspired synths.
Dimensions lives up to its title with beautiful, haunting keys that take me to another dimension I can only imagine as a murky, desolate boiler room in some kind of unending Freddy Krueger nightmare; the same tune emanates in the interlude, which adds a more cyberpunk layer to the itching horror.
The Witch of Darkspire, a leading single and perhaps the album’s highlight, tells an interesting story with its ensnaring rhythm and accompanying music video, available in both a censored and NSFW format (the latter includes plenty of blood and nudity, which I’m guessing is a red pill for anyone who made it as far as this review). It follows the sophomore album’s exiled protagonist and his quest to avenge his wife’s death at the hands of the titular witch. The video creates an insightful window into the band’s visual representation behind the music; I’ve provided the censored version in favor of sensitive audiences.
As an avid fan of 2017’s ‘Ender’s Door’, I still enjoy learning more from Rapheumets Well’s story as a band, as well as the fictional world they’ve created with their music.
After assimilating the newest blood as well as many new fans around the world, ‘The Elder’s Anthology’ sets the stage for the future of Rapheumets Well as they solidify their position in the next wave of extreme metal.