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Hovering in the shadows comes Apse's Spirit, a mesmerizing album where the shrouded world of Gothic gloom meets the outer stratosphere of space rock. Although laced with vocals and haunted by moody melodies, the 11 tracks within are less songs than instrumentals interconnected by their melodies, rhythms, and thick atmospheres. It's an unusual set, and a subtle one, making it difficult to hang on a descriptive peg, but for starters imagine Dark Side of the Moon era Pink Floyd covering Joy Division (but nothing as accessible as "Love Can Tear Us Apart"). Toss Adam & the Ants rolling rhythms into the mix, add dollops of western guitar, turn on a dry ice machine, and stir thoroughly. The atmospheres are dense and intense, the melodies moody, the rhythms variable, sliding between the Ants' tribalism, doom dance, martial marches and, in the case of "Ark," Latin beats. They are the driving force of each piece, their shifts heralding a change in mood and focus, over which the melodies splay. The latter are handed off between guitar and keyboard, the former particularly evocative, the latter more versatile, bringing forth classical elements, cathedral auras, and genre bending sounds. Read what you will into the music within, this reviewer sensed an epic tale of the arrival of Europeans in the New World, starting with the Vikings sailing down "From the North" to discover a land populated by "Legions" of indigenous peoples. From the south, the "Shade of the Moor" spread out from the Caribbean into the Americas. Colonies fail, the natives are decimated by disease and war, but the Europeans keep coming, both communities' "Spirit"s haunting the land to this day. However one chooses to interpret the set, its mood and music casts an unbreakable spell, leaving the listener haunted by the images evoked and the atmospheres conjured up.

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