Album: Spit You Out – EP
For most toxins, there is an established time wherein an antidote or systemic purge can be administered to obliterate every trace of its lethality from your system. For some of these, it can be hours—others as few as minutes, and typically, the shorter the effective time, the more deadly the result from ingestion. But there are some poisons that, from the second it touches your skin—be it epidermal or mucosal—you’re condemned to agony. Even if you remove it instantly and you don’t die, you’ll be disfigured to a point where you might wish you had.
If Australian metalcore act Apate were a poison, it would be one of those poisons. The kind that, even applied transiently, leaves a lasting impression.
Their long-awaited debut EP, Spit You Out, clings to the listener’s eardrums and soaks into the gyri and sulci of their auditory vortices from the first seconds of “Fugue,” deforming their sanity and bending the listener’s will in mere moments. A combination of insane leads, intense breakdowns, intriguing lyrics and immolating heaviness, Spite You Out is an incendiary release that stands to rekindle the passion for nu-infused heavy within the heart of any heavy music fanatic.
There are almost literally millions of artists leaping out of the woodwork claiming “nu” influence without having anything but a couple contrived clean vocal segments and a “creepy” lead to show for it. There are heaps of bands like that—Apate aren’t one. Taking a foundation of low, creeping and crushing instrumentation and splicing in everything from 90s hip-hop to Korn influence, Spit You Out is an insidious and infectious album. Drummer David Hensler is the band’s ruthless heart, beating with an arrhythmic and abusive candor that makes songs like “Bone Syndrome” punchy and punishing, while the album’s title track is a more balanced display of heavy and atmospheric—almost as if one put Yuth Forever, Deftones and Darke Complex in a blender. Hensler can be both hurried and tactful simultaneous—capturing raw, intense and primal energy while maintaining a steady hand and sharp, flashy fills to keep the album surprising. He works dynamically with bassist Tim Wheaton, who actually does what a bassist is supposed to do—lay down a grungy, gritty low end with minimal treble and maximum amounts of murky, brooding darkness. “Split” is an excellent example—as Hensler paves the way with steamrolling percussion, Wheaton writhes atop with murky, filthy abandon, giving guitarists Kurt Doglione and Caleb Patch a fabulous firmament to build atop. Doglione and Patch are groovy and heavy (“Hangman” and “Split,”) while also managing to create intensely nu-infused (infnused) choruses and segments on “Spit You Out” and “Bone Syndrome” both. The duo are incredibly talented—and even where they don’t shred and riff for the entirety of the EP to showcase it, their ability to capture and demented and deprived mindset with a handful of strings and a fretboard is magnificent.
Apate continue their irreverent acknowledgement of nu-metal, metalcore and hardcore with the diverse efforts of frontman Zakk Ludwig. From the first brays of “Bone Syndrome” to the closing seconds of “Bitter Pill,” Ludwig is ludicrously energetic if nothing else. Refusing to stop for a damn thing, Ludwig lets loose on six of the seven tracks Apate craft, with “Jackal” and “Spit You Out” serving as excellent examples of his diversity and variety. The former is gruesome, hunting down the listener’s sanity and obliterating it. The latter sees Ludwig using clean vocals to make evident his love of yesteryear’s nu classics. With a chorus unlike any other on the album, and a portion of skin-chilling, flesh-frosting sung vocals, “Spit You Out” is Apate taking a trendy sound and turning it on its ear, obliterating question that this quintet are simply trend hopping from style to style to obtain relevance. Where his vocal work speaks (or sings, or screams) for itself, Ludwig’s lyricism mirrors his vocal intensity, simultaneously catchy, creative and mentally corrosive—seeping in the listener’s gyri and sulci, promptly rotting them out.
To a point, Apate might not do anything incredibly new (not to be confused with nu, something they do exceptionally well), but what they do, they do with genuine passion and power. Songs like “Bone Syndrome” and “Spit You Out” are catchy and bouncy, while “Hangman” and “Jackal” are no-holds-barred displays of devastating aggression. Apate establish a balanced dynamic between brooding angst and brutality with Spit You Out, likening it to a toxin that stays stuck to your insides, never killing you, but always making you wish it would.
For Fans Of: Yuth Forever, Barrier, VCTMS, Darke Complex
By: Connor Welsh