Aptøsrs – Elders (2024 Album) [Review]

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Introduction to APTØSRS and “Elders

APTØSRS, the solo project of the multi-talented Paul Terry, delivers a stunning debut album titled “Elders.” Released on March 29, 2024, this album masterfully blends post-metal, post-rock, and ambient music. Known for his work as Cellarscape and collaborations with Steve Hewitt of Placebo and Anneke van Giersbergen, Terry offers an immersive experience with “Elders.” Adam Noble (Empire State Bastard, Biffy Clyro) mixed the album, and Grammy nominee Robin Schmidt (Creeper, Pixies) mastered it. Together, they transport listeners to new auditory dimensions. Let’s dive into each track and explore the journey it offers.

Paul Terry
Paul Terry

Track-by-Track Analysis

1. Rust Mountain: A Journey Through Sound and Color

“Rust Mountain” begins with a beautiful blend of calm meditation music and an emotionally charged cinematic soundtrack. The moment the music starts, I feel transported to a new dimension of sound, unlike anything I’ve heard before. The track’s versatility reminds me of STOMP! performed with real instruments.

At first, “Rust Mountain” sounds like a mix of lo-fi, chillstep, and elevator music, with a touch of progressive post-rock/metal. I replayed it several times to fully grasp its complexity. The vivid imagery it evokes is remarkable: a multi-colored being walks down an alley filled with people with greyed-out faces, reminiscent of a New York City comic scene. This being then transitions to a cosmic plane, walking along a road made of ether, lights, and rays of sound. The melody shifts smoothly from smooth jazz to a rhythm that feels like rain.

The excitement builds, and I see an explosion of colors—purple and yellow dominate. Perhaps it’s the song’s quality, my sense of nature, or the RGB setup on my desk, but everything vibes together perfectly. The song ends triumphantly, like a young hero who finds his way in the world after a struggle. The climactic boss battle scene leaves me wondering if the hero slayed the beast or conquered his self-doubts. The drums are punctual and feel like the tempest of a rising storm, adding to the track’s impact.

2. With Each Step: A Cosmic Journey

With Each Step” starts as if you’re falling into the deepest, most comfortable sleep on the softest pillow imaginable. The journey begins, taking you through distant worlds filled with stars and cosmic beings just beyond your perception. The track evokes warmth and safety, with purples and bright yellows painting the soundscape.

The interplay between the strings, drum beats, and synthetic elements gives each note and strum its own life. The first half feels incredibly uplifting, transporting you to a place where achieving a goal seems possible yet daunting. The build-ups are pleasant, and suddenly, you find yourself in a state of pure questioning. A journey to find something lost begins, uniting us on this path.

The music feels like dancing in the rain, running gleefully like a child dodging raindrops. It brings back memories of playing games with my father, seeking his smile and touch. Towards the end, the strings and drums almost seem to cry, adding a poignant depth to the track.

3. A Peaceful Way to Defy Them All: Embracing Change

This track takes a sudden turn, evoking a profound sense of loss. The beginning is marked by dark colors, almost like being blind and opening your eyes for the first time. It feels like emerging from a deep sleep, experiencing a second chance.

With each step forward, new opportunities arise, represented by powerful, resonant strings and eerie, foreboding drums and percussion. Suddenly, you shed your earthly skin and realize you’ve had wings all along. It’s now up to you to learn if you can fly and leave everything behind to soar above the clouds. The sensation of flying feels familiar, as if you’ve always been somewhere else, and this is only temporary.

The strings become uplifting, reminding you that past doubts are temporary. They dance with the rhythm of the drums and keys, chasing each other until everything feels right.

4. Graveyard Syndrome: Confronting Inner Demons

Graveyard Syndrome” delves into post-rock darkness, as if something is chasing you, knowing things about you that even you don’t know. The track evokes the feeling of a superhero trapped by a villain, listening to their monologue. You can only watch and listen until the light appears, allowing you to break free and gain newfound strength.

This strength comes with the potential to do harm. The eerie tones and heavy guitar riffs make you reflect on past events, questioning your power and courage. The thick bass lines and heavy drum patterns create a binaural sense of dread, while the strings offer hope. The track is filled with internal battles, mental beration, and self-harm but also coincides with the wins we achieve. It reminds us that the past does not define us; only our choices on the path of self-enlightenment do.

5. Nothing But Recall: Cherishing Memories

Right from the start, “Nothing But Recall” evokes memories of significant life events like my wedding day or the birth of my daughter. The way the strings dance in the intro highlights how beautiful life events can be. I see a lot of green while listening, feeling as if I am witnessing a baby take its first steps or hearing a child say, “I love you, daddy,” for the first time.

This track also serves as a stark reminder of the sacrifices required to achieve the lifestyle we desire. It brings to mind the wonders of the world, making us look at them anew, almost as if we are reborn. This song made me want to call my mother and tell her I love her, illustrating its profound emotional impact.

6. Questionnaires: Reflecting on Loss

Questionnaires” begins with a sense of impending sadness, making me reflect on the inevitable sorrows of life. The track is filled with oranges and fall colors, a stark reminder that all things must end. This song marks a turning point in the album, setting the stage for the final tracks.

The strings evoke a sense of regret, making me wonder if I told my grandmother I loved her enough before she passed. The drums are soft, with binaural beats that seem to plead, “please forget.” The strings and keys maintain a somber, almost melancholic tone throughout, creating a soft, slow, and harmonic atmosphere. The feeling is akin to a young girl opening a music box for the first time, then opening it again 20 years later to hear a tune shared with her father, even if it doesn’t play as loudly. The gears may be rusty and worn, but the sound remains, allowing us to sleep peacefully.

7. Narcolepticon: Rebirth and Renewal

“Narcolepticon” starts powerfully, embarking on a journey of self-reflection, regrowth, and rebuilding. The strings and drums guide you through crowded city streets, where you feel alone despite being surrounded by hundreds of people. The old self dies, and the strings cut away everything from the past, molding what remains into the person you want to be.

This song feels like a journey of self-transcendence, illuminated by flashing amber lights humming to the beat. The golds and dark greys create a snapping rhythm, making you feel like you are alone on a new path, facing obstacles that challenge you at every turn. The sky clears slightly, and the drums pick up, revealing a gleam of light. You pick yourself up, march forward, and see a new self. The old you is gone, and the light shines high with the ending strings, drums, and keys.

8. Encore, Vredefor: Overcoming Hardships

“Encore, Vredefor” hits hard from the first riff, bringing to mind all the hardships in life, from a grandmother’s death to a mother’s harsh words. But quickly, the strings rise, empowering you with armor. The drum beat kicks in, lifting you up and giving you a great duty—to be a protector and guardian.

The strings remind us that we are judged not by what has happened but by what we do. The battle is spiritual, real, political, or environmental, with the strings taunting us like calming rain mixed with post-rock blast beats. The colors are dark shades initially but become uplifting, urging us to face our fears and failures. The song becomes dramatic, with strings and drums clashing, symbolizing the battle between the old and new self. We must fight our old selves to grow, using our losses, scars, and failures as weapons to achieve new strengths and become valiant.

Conclusion: A Stellar Debut

Overall, “Elders” by APTØSRS is a stellar debut album that transcends traditional genres. Paul Terry’s masterful composition and production evoke deep emotions, vivid imagery, and immersive experiences. The album’s instrumental tracks tell powerful stories without the need for vocals, showcasing true artistry. Listeners are encouraged to experience the album in one sitting, fully immersing themselves in the binaural beats and atmospheric soundscapes. For fans of atmospheric, post-rock, ambient, and experimental music, “Elders” is a must-listen.

Recommended Listening Setup: Standard over-the-ear headphones (buy here to help us receive comission) provide an excellent experience for this level of production.

Final Verdict: Highly recommended for its emotional depth, exceptional production quality, and unique storytelling through music.

About the Artist

Paul Terry, the creative force behind APTØSRS, is a renowned composer, songwriter, producer, and author. His extensive portfolio includes original scores for award-winning films and collaborations with prominent artists. Under his independent label SkyBabyRecords, Terry continues to push the boundaries of music with his innovative and captivating projects.

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Aptøsrs Elders Artwork
Aptøsrs Elders Artwork


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