If you were to ask some of the world's biggest metal bands where there favorite place to play live is, a growing number of them would point to Latin and South America. Known for fans that are rabid for well played melodies and ripping solos, it would make sense that the bands originating there would have the same passion for creating music. Venezuelan power metal five piece Aphelium aren't just committed to playing the same old thing; they are ready to give the rest of the world a taste of the flare and punch that comes along with their desire to go global. On their 2012 demo, a three track offering, they show you why you should keep your eyes to the south for some of the next great bands, and why the language you speak doesn't matter when the music starts playing.
Keyboardist Cristhian Zambrano sets the stage on the opening track, a short but flowing intro. Without pause, it rolls directly into "Cleopatra," and now the full band has a chance to come through. Vocalist Joan Pabón has a voice that is both dynamic and versatile, delivering his Spanish language lyrics with the gusto of some of the best in the business. Surprisingly, this is a one guitar outfit, something that may become even more shocking when you hearing the depth of sound the instrumental has. This is thanks, largely, to some amazingly played bass work. But the explosions of percussion and distortion take center stage more often that not, with guitarist Ismael Mendonça painting the sky with riff after riff, backed solidly by precisely timed snares and cymbals. After a slowed down jazzy bridge, piano keys start the track building back to a boil. A bouncing gallop erupts from the ashes, and you are pushed to a slamming conclusion. Perhaps the most complete of the two main tracks on the demo, "Fate Of A Promise" sees Pabón venturing into completely English lyrics, a bilingual attack that makes a deep impact. Guitars and bass, locked together, have a constant hold on your ears. Thanks to the strong instrumental, the track flies by, leaving you wanting more.
Aphelium has something woven into their music that many bands should take note of. They lack the sense of rock star entitlement that plagues the world music scene, particularly in America. It isn't about making millions of dollars, chicks, and booze. In the most basic form, music is made for the love of making it. And every ounce of talent is magnified when the musicians pour themselves into their craft. By bringing the focus back to the music itself, rather than the stereotypes and the lifestyle, Aphelium have three tracks to their name that are sure to resonate with fans from North America, South America, Europe, Africa, and Asia. Demos like this one remind us that music, and metal specifically, are a universal language. And there is no app or program, not even Rosetta Stone, necessary to remind us that we all speak power metal.