Music Review – Ape Shifter_Ape Shifter II
19 March 2019 Recommends
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Spotlight: Ape Shifter – Ape Shifter II (2019 Brainstorm Records)
By Gary “Uncle G” Brown
Together going on their second year, the three-man heavy metal mostly instrumental group, Ape Shifter, releases their sophomore studio album entitled; Ape Shifter – Ape Shifter II. Drops at the end of the month; 29 March. Available; compact disc, vinyl, or digital download. I received the CD in snail mail, all the way from Germany, with a press release enclosed. Paper sleeve. Made for a cool first impression. My introduction to the band. I’ll need to secure myself a CD of their debut album; Ape Shifter – Ape Shifter I. Hopefully autographed. I wonder if they offer that in their merchandise department?
“Uncle G” discusses…Ape Shifter – Ape Shifter II (2019)
If I had a proper turntable as I did in my younger days, I’d be interested in getting this on vinyl. Played on a real stereo; separate components. Because of the serious rockin’ involved, and the fact I’m starting to go deaf, the volume would be somewhat cranked. Turned up bass so when the music played, it would shake the house windows. But don’t break them. Too expensive to replace.
The opening track, Gravity, is an almost three-minute rocker that at first listen, reminded me a little of, Ted Nugent. I caught a show from Ted’s ‘Cat Scratch Fever’ tour. A mind-blowing, balls to the wall, hard rock performance. Testosterone filled the air (as one might expect). If Ted’s band smoked anymore, they would have caught fire.
From the Gary “Uncle G” Brown Classic Rock Ticket Stub Collection
The comparison I imagine from what I’m finding out about Ape Shifter would be cool with them. Part of ‘Ape Shifter’ is a celebration of the high energy, electric guitar driven rock n’ roll, of yesterday’s past. Reminiscing, Mister Wango Tango (Ted Nugent) is defiantly a part of all that.
Ape Shifter II scores high marks throughout. A little more detail.
Ape Shifter (band members)
Jeff Aug (guitar) / Florian Walter (bass) / Kurty Munch (drums)
My favorite all-time instrumental album; Jeff Beck – Blow By Blow (1973). Was produced by the legendary, George Martin (RIP). For me to enjoy a new instrumental album by a band such as Ape Shifter, all these decades later, with the same three core instruments as what was the foundation to Jeff Beck’s masterpiece, seems probable. For me to give repeat plays, and then sing its praise on the Internet, other important ingredients must also exist; solid songwriting and production values. Am thrilled to report, all that is included here.
When I say I have given Ape Shifter II repeat plays, start to finish, I’m not bullshitting anyone, for the sake of this write-up. One third that reason would be is because of the guitarist: Jeff Aug. Funny (to me), online it’s said Jeff is the master of the acoustic guitar. None of that here on Ape Shifter II. Doing some basic research, I found out Jeff has had an outstanding career, so far. Jeff’s the real deal. Cool fact about him. Toured with one of my guitar hero’s; Allan Holdsworth (RIP). Sounds to me just going by what I’m hearing here, that Aug could play lead guitar for any band out hard rock/heavy metal band out there, including a favorite of mine: Alice Cooper. you know, ‘old black eyes’ needs to be nominated; Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame. Based on his own merits. The band, Alice Cooper, is already inducted. This is Vince going solo. Those instrumental passages between lyrics. Killer guitar(s). Wagner and Hunter were solid gold together. The best in rock/metal has collaborated with Alice, over the decades (since 1975). Michael who? Inside joke. Back to The Coop, a song catalog such as Alices’ demands recognition. The writer in me sees him as a word craftsman. It’s the sounds heard played by musical instruments that carry those thoughts, into a new and exciting dimension. As does this new Ape Shifter album. Let me continue.
Every song (13 tracks) on Ape Shifter – Ape Shifter II displays know-how; melodies one can remember, in songs that you don’t forget 5 minutes after hearing them. The songwriting knowledge is definitely there. All tracks on Ape Shifter II is written by Jeff Aug, except for track number one; Gravity. That’s a group effort. Dare I say the best track on here? Let me put it this way. The song ‘Gravity’ was the first song from the album, to stick in my head. It’s worth knowing the whole album by heart.
“Uncle G” rates … Ape Shifter – Ape Shifter II (2019 Brainstorm Records)
Using the five-star rating system, whereas one star means you’re wasting your time and money to five stars in which means it surpasses excellence, I (Gary “Uncle G” Brown) rate Ape Shifter – Ape Shifter II…5 stars!
As mentioned in regards to electric guitar work, I hear influences; Ted Nugent, Jimmy Page (The Firm era), Gary Hoey, just to name a few. Every listener will have their own impressions. It’s the originality of what I’m hearing that strikes me most. Includes a rhythm section (bass and drums) that can keep up. I’m fucking impressed! All twelve tracks worth buying. Must say so not to waste the notes I took; tracks 3, Mask Of The Ancient Warrior, and the 10th cut on the CD, No Chords Allowed, Jonathan…I also like a lot. As well as the 2nd number; Haskett. Displays great expertise and crunch. Feel free to quote me.
Ape Shifter – Ape Shifter II FUN Fact: According to the band’s official bio, their music is very stoner (420) friendly.
The 13th cut, what I also consider a bonus track, is called; Matilda. A name I have not heard since the 1960s. Barely over two-minutes long. Eargasm stuff. Am surprised when I say it was a cool way to close an album. The song itself has a kind of eerie feel to it. Thanks in part to guest violin player, Kilian Kayser. The composition actually blends well with the dozen instrumental rockers (tracks) before it. What makes it stand out; a singer/lyrics. Check out yourself. Along with the rest of the album. Meanwhile, I’ll stand or sit, accounting of the situation, idly by, waiting on; Ape Shifter – Ape Shifter III (including, I imagine, an instrumental or two centering around a shedding acoustic guitar, just for licks).
OH…those who follow my writing, know that from time to time I talk about having music, a lot of times be it instrumental, playing in the background while having a good shag. Add Ape Shifter – Ape Shifter II to that list. Educated guess. Am in between wives now (insert sound of insane laughter).
Promotional Video – Ape Shifter – Haskett
Alice Cooper: www.alicecooper.com
Ape Shifter Management & Booking: www.MAXIMUMBooking.com
Promotion – Glass Onyon PR: www.glassonyonpr.com
Rock n’ Roll Hall of Fame: https://www.rockhall.com/
Ted Nugent (who also deserves to be nominated/inducted into the RnRHoF btw: www.tednugent.com)
Gary “Uncle G” Brown Archives: www.garyunclegbrownarchives.com
Gary Brown 420 Rock Music, Alice Cooper, Ape Shifter, Ape Shifter II, Dick Wagner, Florian Walter (bass), Gary Uncle G Brown, Gary Uncle G Brown Archives, Glass Onyon PR (promotion), Instrumental Rock (2019), Jeff Aug (guitar), Jeff Beck - Blow By Blow (George Martin), Kurty Munch (drums), Steve Hunter, Ted Nugent