Review: Dead Sea Apes ‘Rewilding’

When it comes to psychedelia, there’s often a focus on lightness. Maybe it’s the influence of hippie throwbacks, or just the simple joy of consciousness expansion, but there’s been a sense of optimism associated with the genre since its heyday. It’s interesting, then, that the music of psych bands who are willing to plumb darker depths is so much richer, able to explore harsher textures while still delivering vast, mind-exploding jams. Case in point – Dead Sea Apes. Rewilding sees the now-trio hammer out six tense, noisy psych jams, each brimming with the pent-up energy of a long-caged animal set loose to run amok.

Dead Sea Apes 'Rewilding' Artwork
Dead Sea Apes ‘Rewilding’ Artwork

Yes, it’s still a record that is a joy to get lost in. Jack Toker hammers out so many winding, labyrinthine basslines that you probably won’t want to escape, and when he picks up the pace, Chris Hardman’s beats amplify that energy into a rumbling, motorik machine that sweeps the listener and drags them along at its breakneck pace. The difference is that this is all coated with a sense of malevolence and disaffection, the spirit of nature reaching breaking point and reclaiming what is hers.

The opening blasts of Denialist, a wall of feedback that whirrs and crowds with the dense fury of a locust swarm before launching into a lurching doom riff and one piercing, tortured solo break after another sets the agenda well. There’s a power to its march that makes it feel almost inevitable, while The Sleep Room takes the stealthy approach and lets its darkness creep in, building imperceptibly until the world is nothing but noise, chaos and one massive, pulsing riff that conceivably could go on forever without flagging.

This is the sound of three people trapped in a room and feeding off each other’s essences…

Rewilding itself is all ragged violence and sun-bleached desert rock vibes, and closer Dead Zone is an infernal blues jam, Toker’s bass taking on a grimy, predatory aspect as it slinks through Brett Savage’s sparse guitars. It feels tense and tortured, and as the guitar becomes more intricate, tapping into juddering drone and spry, Morricone-esque meanderings, it becomes ever more immersive, drawing the listener back into the abyss for one final trip before the journey ends.

Taken as a whole, Rewilding is one of those albums where the energy is as much of a draw as the songwriting. There’s beauty, violence and the stark, uncompromising spirit of nature herself in these six jams for sure, but they’re drawn out in such a fluid fashion that one has to marvel at the intuition as well as the skill. Whether they’re launching into Herculean doom jams or flitting around the quiet corners of the mind, Rewilding retains the energy of its creators. This is the sound of three people trapped in a room and feeding off each other’s essences, a group ritual that we have the good fortune to be given access to.

Label: Cardinal Fuzz Records | Feeding Tube Records
Band Links: Official | Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram

Scribed by: Dave Bowes