Monkey Business by Ape ShifterRelease date: March 31, 2023
Label: Brainstorm Records / Heavy Progressive Records
Since their formation in November of 2015, Ape Shifter’s music pushes you over the edge of the cliff, waiting for the right moment by igniting your parachute, and making a soft landing across the landscapes of the Grand Canyon. It is down, fast, riveting, head banging, and blistering metallic crunches that come at you in a nanosecond.
And if you think that they’re going to slip in a ballad, guess again. Their latest release entitled Monkey Business, we see the trio unleashing more of their thrashing arrangements as if the going gets good. They have a strong sense of flavour throughout the 12 compositions where they pack in more heavy punches than ever before.
You have the ‘Promises of a Progressive Future’ where Aug’s guitar unleashes some fission-like textures as Münch’s drum kit becomes a rumbling earthquake, waiting to erupt, it becomes a cross over between Black Sabbath’s ‘Hand of Doom’ and ‘Jack the Stripper / Faeries Wear Boots’, followed by Tower of Power’s ‘What is Hip?’ and the grinding gears come in for the attack with a climatic result.
‘Mind of You’ channels the duo guitar sounds of Iron Maiden’s Dave Murray and Adrian Smith as the trio walks into the styles of The Number of the Beast‘s territory while ‘Purple’ goes into a hallucinogenic whirlpool of terror for Walter laying down the funk between him and Jeff. You can vision those two in a dueling match, and seeing who will lay down the final blow.
When Ape Shifter goes in for the kill with a punk-like approach on ‘Cure’, you know they’re just getting warmed up before entering a showdown at the O.K. Corral with a ‘Shitkicker’ who wants to stir up trouble and ruin the moment for everybody. And once they enter the Bay Area thrash scene, the trio lets this person know that they’re not to be fucked around with.
The last section becomes a floating segment as Aug brings in Thor’s hammer from the sky, and calling upon The Mars Volta’s Omar Rodriguez-Lopez and a young Kirk Hammett from the Kill ‘Em All sessions. And what a way to end by giving those massive attacks that are bound to happen!
‘Lying in Wait’ starts off with an echoing, synth-like attack that Aug approaches, honouring both Iommi’s ‘FX’ from the Vol. 4 sessions and Brian May’s terrifying midsection from Queen’s ‘Get Down Make Love’. He adds that sense of a quiet, ghost town-like atmosphere with swirling whirlpools that are coming at you for the first two minutes.
And at the last four minutes and forty-nine seconds, the trio go into this chutes-and-ladder texture, climbing from one ladder, and jumping to another. It becomes a challenging arrangement, but you can tell that Aug unleashes his anger by going in with some howling affect, honouring the styles of Robert Fripp for a brief moment.
This album is Ape Shifter’s answer to a Mike Tyson ear-biting contest, and a knock-out punch. They have proved listeners that they have never back down without a fight. And they are true boxing champions by winning the trophy, fair and square.