Review: Dead Sea Apes / The Band Whose Name Is A Symbol ‘Pantheon Of Fuckery’

To get the main point covered: this is a really nice spacey, psychy split, with a slightly odd album title. Pantheon Of Fuckery sounds like a tongue-in-cheek grindcore album title, but that is what Dead Sea Apes and The Band Whose Name Is A Symbol are about, not fitting into boxes. Both bands have fairly colossal discographies so it’s exciting to get them on the same pressing.

Dead Sea Apes / The Band Whose Name Is A Symbol 'Pantheon Of Fuckery'

Lunar Mansions, unlike the album name, sounds exactly as the title suggests and is appropriately cosmic and arcane as Dead Sea Apes. In a word, it is transporting. There are colourful, swirling washes of synths and organ, while the guitar, styling itself as a sitar, laps at your ears, repeating the same notes to create a hypnotic, dizzy feeling. It’s familiar yet dark and surreal. What is impressive about this track is that it makes stasis enjoyable. You’re held in the guitar groove that keeps repeating, while the airy sounds around it evolve and become harsher and more grandiose.

Often with the sounds that originated from Germany and the United States in the ‘60s and ‘70s, there is a cluster of adjectives that follow it. Much like ‘brutal’ or ‘savage’ with metal. While these are often very appropriate, it doesn’t help you know what the individual artist sounds like. ‘Ecstatic’, ‘vibrations’, ‘universe’ can all be applied to this split. I would like to look past them, but frustratingly, Dead Sea Apes seem to have managed to hit all those, because it is impossible not to be caught up in the hypnotic swells of sound and forget all about yourself and your increasing utility bills for twenty minutes.

Where Dead Sea Apes kept the sonic swell building, TBWNIS are much more about evolution…

Friends of Dead Sea Apes from across the pond, The Band Whose Name Is A Symbol, or TBWNIS for short, bring a more straight-up sunny psych rock on Patheon Of Fuckery III that was recorded live in 2022 from the farmland in Richmond. Where Dead Sea Apes kept the sonic swell building, TBWNIS are much more about evolution. They even expanded their line-up to a nine-piece for this track. The bass and drums constantly dictate the level of energy, bit by bit the guitars and synths develop on top over and over again.

It’s about thirteen minutes in when they really shift up a gear with the bass and drums propelling the rhythm forward with a really infectious, melodic groove. For a nine-piece, this band operates like a single organism. Towards the end of the track, in near true-to-character style, TBWNIS drop the driving rhythm and you can make out someone shouting ‘one more’ and set off in another direction to end. Maybe that’s what this mystic pantheon of fuckery is all about? The creative freedom to do what you want and the escape the listener can have with that.

The vinyl pressing has sold out on through Cardinal Fuzz but is still available from Feeding Tube Records, you can also get a digital copy of each track from the respective artist’s Bandcamp pages. Dead Sea Apes are also using Bandcamp proceedings to support We Shall Overcome, a homeless assistance charity in their home city of Manchester.

Label: Cardinal Fuzz Records | Feeding Tube Records
Dead Sea Apes: Official | Facebook | Bandcamp | Twitter | Instagram
The Band Whose Name Is A Symbol: Facebook | Bandcamp

Scribed by: James Bullock