APE SHIFTER - “Monkey Business”

By Dark Starr

When I reviewed the previous set from APE SHIFTER, given the change from first to second, I wondered what the next one would be like. Well, now I have my answer. This continues a tradition of fully instrumental music. Ir almost seems to fit somewhere between its predecessors. There is a lot of heavy metal here. However, there are still healthy prog angles. Whatever you call this, it's a strong release. In fact, I might say that it's the best of the three, but I'm not completely sure if I like this or the first one better. 

Fast-paced and riff driven, the opening "MPU" is a real powerhouse piece. It's absolutely on fire. It's perhaps more guitar hero than prog, but there are some proggy tendencies to it. Coming in very heavy, "Stampede" shifts out to frantic jamming after that introduction. It is a screamer that reminds me a little of DREAM THEATER. A much more metallic number, "Misery" is packed full of so much riff driven magic. It has some interesting twists and turns, too. 

Next comes, "Promises of a Progressive Future," and there are a number of twists and turns on the driving, powerhouse stomper. Smoking hot riffing is on the menu on "Ahab." This is a real stomper. It's quite metallic. It has some decidedly proggy moments, too, though. There is a mellower section mid-track that leans toward space rock and definitely brings more of the prog angles to bear. The cut drives outward after that into some more scorching metallic music. 

"Dregs of Doom" is another powerhouse. From the title I would have thought that this might be sort of a doom metal take on DIXIE DREGS type music. I think that the argument could be made that this sounds rather like what that would be, so perhaps that is the origin of the title. It's a killer number whatever the title means. Now, the prog comes fully to bear on "Purple." The music is still crunchy and heavy, but there are powerhouse prog rock shifts and timings. It is one of the standouts here. It's as much fusion and progressive rock as it is metallic. The bass playing really stands out, too. 

"Cure" is another powerhouse screamer. It still manages some proggy changes. Just 16 seconds long, "Gucci, Baby" is just a noisy crazed bit of sound seemingly from the middle of something. The opening on "Mind Of You"  has a real mainstream rock vibe to it. The cut drives out from there turning that into more powerhouse, riff driven rocking. 

"Shitkicker" has some seriously scorching guitar work. It's a real screamer. It is the kind of thing Steve Vai and Joe Satriani are known for. It gets into some spacey jamming that's almost like PINK FLOYD meets HENDRIX and a jazz band later in the track. It comes back out into the hard rocking before it's done. Space music brings this into being on the closing "Lying In Wait." That holds it for a while bringing the prog angles as it does. Eventually the cut shifts out to some hard rocking zones that make me think of early RUSH.