Dead Sea Apes - Spectral Domain

by Steve Reynolds Rating:8 Release Date:2015-09-25

Ah, woozy hazy drone, we're all partial to a slice or two aren't we? There's plenty of it around for sure, whether it's the electronic feral type of Fuck Buttons or the incessant guitar repetition of Carlton Melton. Both types offer a different tack, a variation on a theme.  Dead Sea Apes like to beat us with the guitar version and the three piece from Manchester buck the trend of a typical sounding band from such a musical rich area.  They boldly go where no Manc outfit has been before.

With the majority of drone it comes vocal free. Instead it focusses on building subtle layers of slow burning guitars and motorik rhythms but where Dead Sea Apes stand apart from their peers is their confidence and cockiness in their distinctly soaring arrangements.

From the minimal start on opener 'Universal Interrogator', the fires are stoked and after 2.5 minutes they start to rage and torment as they bring more urgency and impetus as the track gains momentum.  Collectively they pool their energies and what they do smacks of a band carving out something intrinsic and  beautiful demonstrated on track 2 'True Believers' with its haunting, tormenting opening, its pace reduced to almost standstill but effortlessly steps up and up and once the band fling the door open and throw the shackles off they are in full flow as the guitars crackle, pounce and importantly, deliver. 

The tribal drum opus beginning of 'The unclosing eye' is sinister but while the water torture like repetition beats through the heart of the song it isn't too long before it's joined by an old friend, the six string, but this track is much more roomy than its predecessors as it's content to tease and nag away at your ear rather than try and drive it into submission.

'Brought to four' is almost like the intermission piece of 'Spectral Domain'. It totals just over 4 minutes and is the shortest track on the album. It isn't as belligerent as it's partners but the cantankerous twang of the guitar makes for a distinctly creepy and itchy feel.

The band close out with the 11 minute maelstrom of 'Sixth side of the pentagon'.  A throbbing bass that Jah Wobble would be proud of and combined with heavy viscous dark post punk arrangements its very PIL like in its entirety.  They also invest in hypnotic seasick keys and monotonous drums which drive you insane such is the ferocious intensity of their attack.

'Spectral Domain' is a brilliantly constructed album.  Full of great hooks, positive arrangements with the right injection and passion in all the right places. Dead Sea Apes have most certainly got on their game with 5 wondrous tracks here.

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