"And Then There Were 2" (Barred Records; 2010)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

Ape's "And Then There were 2" features more strong rock'n'roll tracks with some very accessible guitar, both lead and rhythm wise. As they did on "Survival of the Fittest," the songs often verge on nu-metal but still stay closer to standard classic hard rock than anything else.

There's only three tracks here, which is kind of a drag, but it's enough to want you to hear more. Very clean, crisp production, well-written, very clear songs. An entertaining CD to be sure ... just way way too short.

For more information, check out http://www.apeband.com.

"Survival of the Fittest" (Barred Records; 2009)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

According to their website, Ape set out to fill "a void that has been ignored for far too long; the need for a real rock band to lead this generation." A lofty goal ... and one that they don't quite achieve with their still terrific album "Survival of the Fittest."

As I listened to this CD, I was impressed by how solid and confident it sounded throughout. Ape obviously knew what they wanted to do here and they seemed pleased with the results. The songs on "Survival of the Fittest" are hard rockers that don't quite cross over into what we call "metal" today. In other words, the music here is a little closer to the "hard rock" of Kiss or Dio than it is to the "metal" of Slipknot or Killswitch Engage, although elements of metal and thrash do make an appearance here and there.

There is also a newness to this CD, however, that gives it a slight alternative sound. Some might say it sometimes creeps into nu-metal territory while others might just call it "the groove." It doesn't really matter which description is more fitting because, whatever it is, it works.

Vocalist Everett Mason has a melodic voice that reminds me of legendary Starz vocalist Michael Lee Smith (and that's a good thing). And the musicians shine throughout, especially on "Irate Primate," a almost funky instrumental. The songwriting is punchy and makes it almost impossible not to nod your head to or tap your toe as you listen.

Fans of melodic hard rock that isn't afraid to kick some serious ass will find plenty to like on "Survival of the Fittest." Ape is one band that doesn't monkey around! (I should have stopped while I was ahead, eh?)

Ape: Everett Mason on vocals/guitar; Galen Weir on bass; Carlos Aguilera on drums.

For more information, check out http://www.apeband.com.

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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