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IN APHELION Unveils Video for New Song, “A Winter Moon’s Gleam”.

IN APHELION Band Members

A new force is awakening, stretching the boundaries of consciousness, and devouring everything in its path. IN APHELION is now ushering in their sophomore album, ‘Reaperdawn,’ which is due on August 9, 2024 via Century Media Records. The black metal brainchild of guitarist/vocalist Sebastian Ramstedt (best known as guitarist and songwriter with Necrophobic) is now offering a frosty relief from the blistering summer with the second new single, “A Winter Moon’s Gleam.” The song can be found along with a stunning performance video, which was directed and edited by Henrik Hedberg.

“One of the more beautiful songs on the album,” Sebastian Ramstedt explains of the song. “The music is mainly sprung from rhythm guitarist Johan Bergebäck’s riffs, but the arrangement and lyrics bring it down to the pitch-black depths of loss and sorrow. It opens up the door in time where we sense the shadows of those long lost.”

Darker, stranger, more epic and progressive than admirers of his work were expecting, this new outlet for enigmatic and artistic expression emerged firmly tethered to the white-knuckle viciousness of benchmark, Northern European black metal, while also exhibiting a profound affiliation with both classic, traditional heavy metal and the black magic of psychedelic repetition. Based around a core line-up of Ramstedt (guitar/vocals), drummer Marco Prij (also Cryptosis), rhythm guitarist Johan Bergebäck (Necrophobic) and bassist Tobias Cristiansson (Necrophobic, ex-Grave…), IN APHELION have taken the uncompromising DIY route to their current status as new Century Media signees.

The atmosphere of “Reaperdawn” is a swirling maelstrom of obsidian sparkle and iridescent grime.

“Reaperdawn” is now available for pre-orders in standard CD jewelcase, gatefold black LP, and a limited Gatefold bloodred LP (red Vinyl), 300x via cmdistro.de and other retailers.

Aphelion – the point of a planet, comet or any other body in the orbit that is most distant from the sun.

A new force is awakening. Stretching the boundaries of consciousness. Devouring everything in its path. Ushering in the Reaperdawn.

IN APHELION could be the ultimate extreme metal adrenalin rush. The euphoric, black metal brainchild of guitarist/vocalist Sebastian Ramstedt (best known as guitarist and songwriter with Necrophobic), they formed during the grim times of the global pandemic. Inspired and enabled by long periods of free time, IN APHELION grew from Ramstedt’s creative restlessness, and his very personal desire to explore new territory that would be unacceptable in his other, better established band. Darker, stranger, more epic and progressive than admirers of his work were expecting, this new outlet for dark, artistic expression emerged firmly tethered to the white-knuckle viciousness of benchmark, Northern European black metal, while also exhibiting a profound affiliation with both classic, traditional heavy metal and the black magic of psychedelic repetition. From the release of debut EP Luciferian Age in the autumn of 2021, it was obvious that IN APHELION were a radical and fearless proposition.

Based around a core line-up of Ramstedt (guitar/vocals), drummer Marco Prij (also Cryptosis) and rhythm guitarist Johan Bergebäck (Necrophobic), IN APHELION have taken the uncompromising DIY route to their current status as new Century Media signees. After ‘Luciferian Age’ alerted the world to this new, maverick entity, they swiftly pieced together their full-length debut, ‘Moribund.’ A tour-de-force of whirlwind extremity and adventurousness, it received widespread acclaim and effusive support from the metal underground. Thrilled to learn that his personal mission was taking effect, Ramstedt avowed to commit to IN APHELION for the long haul, giving himself a meaningful alternative to his supposed day job.

“The original vision was to not do extreme metal at all,” explains Ramstedt. “It started off more like a progressive, hard rock thing, so some of the melodies on our first album were born in another environment. But it becomes very amateurish when I try exploring different areas, and I realised that what I am very good at is doing metal! In Necrophobic, I don’t really push my ideas beyond the usual limits, because we decided long ago to be death metal’s AC/DC and that we would never shock the audience. For instance, we don’t do palm muting in Necrophobic. We just don’t do it! We don’t do tempos over 160bpm. We also don’t do tempos under 135bpm. The concept is very strict. So if I wanted to have palm muting, different themes, and more beautiful, long, sweeping elements, then I had to do that in another band. I can say that all the IN APHELION songs are either above 160bpm or under 135! And they all have palm muting! [Laughs]”

While Sebastian Ramstedt is acutely aware of Necrophobic’s legacy and prominence in the death metal world, he has also longed to have a channel to let ideas that don’t fit within the concept of Necrophobic thrive. IN APHELION is a sanctum for creativity where ideas are allowed to come alive and roam freely and as he prepares to unleash the band’s second album, Reaperdawn, he proudly states that he has brought the best possible comrades along for the ride.

“I wanted to have super dedicated musicians,” he says. “Like Marco, our drummer. I think he is one of the best drummers in the world, and I’m lucky to have him now. It was me and him that started this. Johan joined later, but I had to have him in the band too. He’s a good player but he’s also one of my best friends, and I wanted his support. Tobias Cristiansson was the last to join the band. He had been helping out as a session member on several occasions and it was just natural to ask him to be a full time member as it became clear that original bass player Dennis Holm would not join any further.

I wanted IN APHELION to be about really hard work and waking up every morning, looking at your instrument and thinking, ‘What can I be better at doing, and by this afternoon?’ I wanted musicians that be like that, and that was Marco. I could feel that he was the same as me.”

After receiving such a positive response for ‘Moribund,’ Ramstedt began to think about IN APHELION as a living, breathing entity with huge potential. Fired up creatively and determined to keep the material coming, he immediately began work on the songs that can be found on Reaperdawn, IN APHELION’s first album for Century Media.

“I started to write it directly after ‘Moribund’ was released, so the songs were written that summer,” says Ramstedt. “I knew what the other members of this band could do, I knew what Johan could do outside the Necrophobic box, I knew what I could do, and also my singing developed. I was not confident about my voice when we made Moribund. I had to try to sing a certain way, but now I know how to do it and I can push it. I can do what I want. Also, I knew what Marco could do on the drums. The drums on ‘Moribund’ were written on some digital platform and he just copied them, but the drums on this album were written /for/ Marco, so that was different.”

A spectacular leap forward from the already highly evolved grimness of its predecessor, Reaperdawn expands and outstrips the blueprint that IN APHELION laid down on their debut. The songs are grander and more epic. The arrangements are more intricate, but also more direct. The atmosphere is a swirling maelstrom of obsidian sparkle and iridescent grime. IN APHELION’s masterful blending of arcane blasphemy with grandiose, old school bluster has reached a new level of potency, as songs like momentous opener “The Fields In Nadir” and the woozily anthemic “When All Stellar Light Is Lost” further subvert the black metal ethos; with superhuman blasting and skull-rattling thrash tropes underpinning some truly euphoric and inspirational surges of melodic malice. Furthermore, the more extravagant likes of The Darkening and sumptuous finale “Aghori” represent a further sharpening of IN APHELION’s artistic blade, as progressive detours and ornate, elegant guitar solos are woven precisely into the band’s commanding blitzkrieg.

“I wanted to explore how far I could go,” says Ramstedt. “Maybe ‘Moribund’ sounded a bit like an offspring of Necrophobic, but I knew I could take this band much further away from the mothership! [Laughs] Some of the riffs and some of the guitar parts on ‘Reaperdawn’ are really fucking hard, and it’s all harder than anything I’ve ever done. Marco says that he has never played drums this intricate, but at the same time it’s all straightforward. So this is straightforward black heavy metal, but if you try and dissect it, there’s so much going on in it too.”

Tore Stjerna was asked to mix ‘Reaperdawn’ as the band wanted to distinguish the sound even more from Necrophobic. Sebastian also saw it as an experiment to combine the riffs of the new album that are very much inspired by classic heavy metal with the sound of one of the best black metal engineers of the world.

As strongly indicated by Sebastian Ramstedt’s striking artwork, ‘Reaperdawn’ is an album inspired by the phenomenon of religious cults and the predatory brainwashing that feeds their flocks. Mirroring the unnerving, otherworldly atmosphere of IN APHELION’s music, their leader has penned lyrics that delve deep into mortal conundrums, the sinister allure of the suicide cult and the truth that hides in darkness.

“The whole album centres around cults. It started off with the theme of sun worship, for the song ‘The Darkening.’ A lot of these suicide cults, these people really want to see the light. They’re not evil at all, they want to be closer to God and to see the light. But in darkness and in depression, you tend to see things in more detail. When everything is happy-go-lucky, life is easy and you don’t have to think and contemplate that much, but in the darkness you have to find some kind of clarity of vision. All of these cults, like the Heaven’s Gate cult, these people going up to the vessel in the sky to see the light, that is just the Reaper coming, but at dawn! So the title ‘Reaperdawn’ came from that. I wanted the artwork to reflect that idea, but to still look like a heavy metal album cover, you know?”

As he proudly states, Sebastian Ramstedt has dedicated his life to exploring the darkness. If the marauding grandeur of Reaperdawn is any indication, IN APHELION has become his most focused and effective contribution to heavy music yet. Built to last and hell-bent on glory, this band are taking extreme metal into a new realm of warped ingenuity, virtuoso skill and cerebral bite. From the depths of the underground to the edges of the cosmos, IN APHELION are hurtling towards victory, dogged and unstoppable.

“The plan is to build this up slowly but steadily,” Ramstedt concludes. “We’re all up for touring, but it will be expensive to tour as a small band. But we want to play as much as possible. We’re doing a lot of videos and visuals to reach out and spread the word, and I have already started to write the next album! I always say we should be on at Wacken Open Air in 2025, for us to take this somewhere, and I’m still aiming for that. I have big dreams and big hopes for this. I will fight for this band. The real work starts now.”

IN APHELION Album Cover
IN APHELION Album Cover

Tracklist:

  1. The Fields in Nadir
  2. A Winter Moon’s Gleam
  3. When all Stellar Light is Lost
  4. The Darkening
  5. They Fell Under Blackened Skies
  6. Further From the Sun
  7. Reaperdawn
  8. Aghori

For Fans Of: Dissection, Watain, Emperor, Sacramentum

Lineup:
Johan Bergebäck – guitars
Tobias Cristiansson – bass
Marco Prij – drums
Sebastian Ramstedt – vocals, guitars

Mixing & Mastering: Tore Stjerna
Cover Art: Sebastian Ramstedt
Bio: Dom Lawson
Photos: Leo Bergebaeck

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