5 Jun 2023

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Okoi Jones and Cam Sinclair began working together musically in late 1999, and after some brief involvement in another project (which failed to take off the ground), they acquired fresh inspiration to start Aphelon in 2000 and began writing original material.

Creative endeavours proved successful and by 2001 Aphelon had become well known within the local Christchurch scene, though a period of failed relationships with bass and guitar players saw the band go through several personnel changes. Finally a stable line-up was achieved with Brad Kneale on bass; the band performed at the annual Christchurch 'Satanfest' in 2001 alongside Misery (Australia), Dawn Of Azazel, Skuldom and Meatyard.

Released before Satanfest was a home recording of Aphelon's songs to date - this being the first demo entitled 'Deathdrone'. This was limited to 20 tape copies only and designed to acquaint the Satanfest crowd with Aphelon's sound.

By mid 2002 a friend of the band by the name of Nik Coulter joined the ranks as second guitarist which saw the band go from strength to strength and they again played Satanfest along with Dawn Of Azazel, Skuldom, Meatyard & Sinistrous Diabolis.

In 2003 Aphelon ably supported international acts Pungent Stench (Austria) and Incantation (USA) on their respective New Zealand tours. The band also recorded 5 songs for their next demo - 'The Ethos Elite' - at Ear Candy studios in Christchurch. This was released in April in tape format and demand far exceeded supply.

In August the original DAT tapes of this recording were remixed and remastered for release on CD by Lycanthropic Fervour Records. The CD went on sale in October at Satanfest 2003 where Aphelon played alongside Misery (Australia), Malevolence, Backyard Burial, Meatyard & Odiusembowel. 'The Ethos Elite' was pressed a second time, the original 150 copies all but sold out.

The first foray across Cook Strait to the North Island of New Zealand was performing at Auckland's Audience With The Devil II festival in May 2004. Soon after this guitarist Nik Coulter and the band parted ways leaving Aphelon as a 3-piece unit once more. October 2004 saw the bands first live performance as a 3 piece since 2001 when they played with local Christchurch bands Human and Attica at Creation.

Another trip north in January 2005 was for the Hellington 05 festival in Wellington with Corpse Feast, Demiurge, Backyard Burial and Draco Aerius. Then the last days of May 2005 see Aphelon venture to Dunedin & Invercargill to play the 2nd Convention of Mass Destruction. Teaming up with fellow Christchurch band Offal Stench they take the stage with NZ Metal Stalwarts Corpse Feast, Hatred and Ravenous.

More Christchurch gigs followed and then recording began in July for the next release, 'Scorn Shall Prevail'. Ten tracks were recorded at Nightshift Studios and ICE and the album was released on October 29, 2005. This date also saw the band play at Satanfest 2005 alongside Brutalized Mortality, Meatyard, Demiurge and Backyard Burial.

November saw Aphelon play at The Esplanade in Christchurch supporting Sinate and Dawn Of Azazel on their co-headlining Beyond Sedition tour. A quiet December and January followed before the band played 4 shows in 15 days in February. On the 11th they were in Wellington for Hellington 06 with Meatyard, Relentless Attrition, Malevolence, Backyard Burial and Slave Cadaver, the 18th back in Christchurch to support local legends Cripple Mr Onion, the 24th saw them in Dunedin headlining the 3rd Convention of Mass Destruction, and then a long road trip back to Christchurch to open for Disgorge (USA) on the 25th!

Another quiet period followed until the band travelled to Auckland and peformed at Audience with the Devil IV at the King's Arms with Ulcerate, Sinate, Gomorrah, Odiusembowel, Asphyxiate, Creeping and Trial By Fire. This was the planned swansong for the band before Okoi moved to Europe and it was a fitting way to finish. The band delivered a brutal performance to a receptive crowd which was captured on video and may see the light of day on a future release.

Upon returning to Christchurch the last act by the band was to lay down the remaining unrecorded tracks left in the Aphelon songbook. These songs will be released in the near future on an EP titled 'Blood Blasted Bronze' and if the rough mixes are anything to go by it will be a fitting farewell from one of New Zealand's premier metal bands.

Band Members:
Okoi Jones (vocals, guitar)
Cam Sinclair (drums)
Brad Kneale (bass)

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