Apiary Lost in Focus

As the airtight, groove-oriented tech brutality of Meshuggah and Blood Has Been Shed seems to be virtually impervious to critical panning, and increasingly marketable as the logical step up from cookie-cutter metalcore, it only makes sense that this particular sub-grouping would eventually end up almost as overcrowded. Apiary have no problem establishing their ability to shred, stutter, come back on time at seemingly random intervals, and bring the off-kilter mosh just as precisely as many of their peers — where they fall short is the songwriting. It really is a shame too, because man, these guys can play. Additionally, there are several standout moments, merciless breakdowns, and brief indications of a stronger, more cohesive foundation around which Apiary unfortunately did not bother to build the majority of their material. The artwork is eye-catching, the production is serviceable, and the group are poised to stand out on a label like Ironclad, which is best known for generic metalcore at best. All the ingredients are there, but after devoting 50 minutes to attempting to appreciate such a compelling recipe, it leaves naught but a bland, disappointed taste in your mouth. (Metal Blade)