Ape Machine – Mangled By the Machine

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Reviewed by Paul Broome

Ripple Music

What is an Ape Machine? Is it a machine manned by apes? A machine that manufactures apes? Or a machine that processes apes? Is the ape the grinder or just the organ? None of these questions are answered by this third album (although further research has led to the somewhat shattering news that it’s just a tape machine with a dropped ‘T’…).What I do know though is that Ape Machine are one mighty psych stoner rock quartet and as a call to arms, this album serves its purpose well.

The aggressive song titles are backed up by strong punchy riffs and rhythm section, draped liberally in the swirling sinewy vocals of Caleb Heinze. Ape Machine’s designated area of operation is rooted deep in 1970s hard rock (Sabbath, Purple, etc) but the thickest portion of their trunk dwells in the late 80s/early 90s of the American North West (Soundgarden, Screaming Trees, Alice In Chains all springing readily to mind).

I like the way their songs shift tirelessly away from the formulaic, I cite ‘Every Body Bleeds’ as evidence – it’s less than 4 minutes long but it seems to ceaselessly change form, following instinct rather than rule. In the unlikely event that you get bored of one riff, wait twenty seconds, there’ll be another one along. Many of the songs flow into one another too, heightening the 70s concept aura. The central portion of the album indeed almost comes across like a kind of stoner rock opera – ‘Angry Man’ seguing directly into the title track (which incidentally possesses a central instrumental solo break that Blackmore and Lord would have been proud of), which in turn climaxes and explodes into the brooding ‘Ruling With Intent’.

If you’re looking for an organic heavy rock album with a clear understanding of its place in the pantheon of That Which Has Gone Before, and if any of the bands I’ve mentioned above tickle your nether regions, then buy this album now. It already has a parking space reserved up your street.

Ape Machine - Mangled by the Machine8 out of 10

Track Listing:

  1. Gun You Down
  2. Everybody Bleeds
  3. Tyrant’s Arm
  4. Angry Man
  5. Mangled By the Machine
  6. Ruling With Intent
  7. They Want You To Bleed, They Want You To Bleed Out
  8. Grind Of Defeat
  9. Strange Are The People
  10. Pay Attention