Album: Apestate – EP
Somewhere along the line, throughout the last five, ten—however many—years, weird became some kind of negative connotation. It went from being an innocuous adjective to something almost shunned and derogatory, relegating it to a fate spent at the butt-end of jokes or in the corner of the room, only acknowledged when used to ascribe arbitrarily bad things to something that might not be bad at all—Hell, it might even be good.
Case in point: Faus are weird as a whole damn circus, but they are excellent, and their 2018 EP is solid gold proof that “weird” doesn’t have to mean “bad” or “unappealing.” Apestate is chaotic, catchy, crushing and as fun as you can possibly imagine, combining bouncy grooves with gut-wretching breakdowns and blistering riffs, all with an unmatchable and thoroughly unorthodox candor. Combining elements from juggernauts like Every Time I Die and Bungler with yester-years mathcore and chaotic hardcore stalwarts, Faus are a frenzied and invigorating take on aggressive music that, while not lending itself especially well to description, is an experience that demands to be had.
Apestate may as well be named apeshit, because that’s precisely what is it. Self-proclaimed “Northwest Heavy Tech Punk,” Faus take bits and pieces from hardcore, thrash, post-hardcore, metalcore, punk—whatever—and blend it together in a way that sounds haphazard, but is in fact, brilliant. Apestate is a manic experience from start to finish, using dissonance and raw energy to grip the listener’s head from the first seconds of “Jiggle Physics,” through “Every Man for Herself” and “Magnum Oppress,” the band are a cohesive, crushing force to be feared. Percussionist Ezra Christopher is joined by guitarists Mike Angelini and Anthony Perez to pulverize the listener between bombastic breakdowns and lacerating leads. Christopher’s creativity behind his kit is at its peak throughout the entirety of the EP, but songs like “Wreck-Election Day” and “Jiggle Physics” might just be the very apex of his creativity. Here, he oscillates from rare moments of relative straightforward patterns to fast handed, fleet-footed patterns that leave the listener’s jaw agape. Meanwhile, Angelini and Perez are just as unpredictable, lashing out with equal fervor on “Every Man For Herself,” which sees Faus at their most aggressive and overbearing (but also at their most eclectic). Every song Apestate holds is different without sacrificing flow and fluidity, with Christopher paving out a wide, flat and firm path for Angelini and Perez to riff, groove and chug all over. While Apestate might be a little incoherent at times, it does so in a fun and intriguing way—one that begs the listener to dive even deeper into the record’s depths.
Apestate doesn’t stop at its wonton display of instrumental eccentricity. Faus keep things rolling along with a diverse vocal element, courtesy of frontman Alex Chaffin. Chaffin’s range is simply incredible, from the curious blend of raw shouts and grisly bellows on “Jiggle Physics,” through the trance-like, borderline trippy singing that sneaks its way into “Every Man For Herself,” and more. Even above and beyond Chaffin’s range, Benjamin Hoagland—frontman of the heavy music community’s Northwestern sweethearts, Extortionist—makes an appearance, adding a visceral and intense nature to “Every Man For Herself” that’s impossible to ignore. Chaffin takes the bold, dissonant, fast-and-pissed to low-and-slow dynamic Faus so proudly boast and give it a quirky, diverse and energetic personality, putting a little bit of himself into every syllable that comprises Apestate’s poetic annals.
Apestate is all over the place—I already made the ape shit pun earlier, but, hopefully you can see now, it really holds true. Relentless and ravaging, Faus blend technicality, energy, emotion and a little something extra to make something that stands apart in the increasingly dense and homogenous extreme music stratosphere. One part punk, one part hardcore, one part metal and at least three parts off the wall insanity, Faus are a band that deserve your attention, if for no other reason that, at the end of the day, there just aren’t that many bands going this ape.
For Fans Of: Bungler, Every Time I Die, The Chariot
By: Connor Welsh