There’s a murderous rage brewing right at the US/Canadian border… And its name is The Apex. The Windsor, Ontario “ghetto tech metal” 5-piece that just released (and we mean that literally- it’s out today!) The Underbelly EP, a follow-up to their 2015 self-titled debut. And, man, are these guys audibly enraged. Sludgy, grimey, and chock full of unruly breakdowns, these guys pack a whalloping punch that’ll leave your ears ringing. If you jam to the likes of The Dillinger Escape Plan, Meshuggah, The Red Chord, and Candiria, then these guys are a must-listen!
(Which reminds me- if you’re intrigued AND would like to get your skull cracked in, The Apex embarks TODAY on their Canadian tour. See dates below.)
Today, we have the pleasure of presenting to you their official track-by-track. Join in as the band digs deep in the messages and methods within the madness that is The Underbelly. In partnership with the track-by-track (and for your enjoyment), we’ve included the (currently) only available stream of the track “Underbelly.” Enjoy!
The EP Underbelly had this very sludgy beginning to it when we started writing and it sort of set the tone for the theme before any concept was even chosen. There are fundamental flaws in this chaos we call an industry today and we make no attempts to sugar-coat how we see the “underbelly” of it all. We were noticing bands being “signed” to these bank-loan type record contracts, documentaries explaining how the record industry is taking advantage of bands- not to mention promoters that are in it for themselves and not paying up, etc. WIth allof that, we took the bold choice to take these issues on as a concept for the EP. We felt those people and issues are the “underbelly” of the music industry, and the idea of parts thatmnay don’t want to speak of suited the title perfectly in our eyes.
The cover art is the underbelly of our bridge that joins Windsor, Ontario to Detroit, Michigan and is located in a sort of “underbelly area of our city that many don’t want to speak of as well. Houses have been bought up fora second bridge that was never approved, and neighborhoods are boarded up and dilapidated, so it also tied in smoothly with the concept of “things we don’t want to speak of.”
“Scabs and Sheep”
This song specifically touches on the subject of big business trying to maintain a grasp on control over an industry that is progressively changing into something new and accessible to everyone in the communication age. The days of handpicked bands and “oligarch” type labels making easy money from album sales are being replaced by DIY bands and fans that don’t need HMV to get the music they want to here anymore. The system is basically being torn down by the very people it’s been dominating for decades. The title “Scabs and Sheep” rings out as a sort of chorus in this song and it explains how the giants choosing what you will hear go hand in hand with those who basically just follow mainstream music or what they are sold by labels. Those 2 entities are the Scabs and Sheep in our eyes.
Underbelly is a bit more generalized in terms of the topic. The lyrics in this song aren’t based on a specific person or entity but more so on the idea that the more the industry travels down this path, the more the actual art will suffer. The breakdown in the song clearly explains things lyrically. “Trends pushed. The real pushed aside. Define success.” Many artists will follow a popular trend that is gaining them some bits of success but is it actual “success” or is it just doing what is cool at the moment? That is the question posed. Many artists we see who stay true to their craft and ignore the trends throughout the years can be highly overlooked when they are miles ahead artistically than those following today’s status quo, in our opinion. “1996 is rolling in it’s grave” is a reference to Pantera’s “The Great Southern Trendkill” which was an album written to smash the trends and to get onboard with something fresh and pushing the boundaries of what is “safe and popular.”
“Paid In Exposure”
This song is likely the most specifically targeting and relates to certain promoters who seem to be in the music industry more for themselves rather than for the bands, art and drive to present new music to the masses. Many seem to be ok with grossly overcharging at the door and not really promoting the show well so if it flops they get just enough to cover a couple bucks for bands and they go home with money in their pockets. IF these shows do well they stick to bare minumum payouts and go home with a good wad of cash. It’s not really about doing good work and being rewarded, it’s more about if you are pulling in good draws and paying bands minimum payouts then just keep door sales modest so the fans take less hit to the wallet and can afford to buy more merch. Some are the worst types and offer you “exposure” for your work when they aren’t “exposing” you to more than 50 people etc. so the title is a jab at that directly. Other promoters sort of use their regular turnouts to build their name and they start having a bit of a complex like they are “saving the scene” some how, when it’s the fans attending shows who should really be held on a pedestal. Sure the promoter might have helped facilitate the process but there is no need to hold yourself at the highest level when people start to support your shows more. Be modest: the bands, promoters, crowds, and media all work hand in hand at the end of the day.
The Apex Canadian Tour Dates
‘Fresh Out of The Foundry Tour’:
Aug 17 – Windsor, ON – The Dominion House – info
Aug 18 – Toronto, ON – Coalition T.O. – info
Aug 19 – Montreal, QC – THR Bar – info
Aug 20 – Drummondville, QC – Pur Heriot – info
Aug 21 – Quebec City, QC – La Source de la Martinière – info
Aug 22 – Charlottetown, PE – Babas Lounge – info
Aug 23 – Moncton, NB – Plan B – info
Aug 25 – Sussex, NB – Uncle G’s – info
Aug 26 – Sydney, NS – Embers – info
Aug 27 – Sackville, NS – House Show – info
Aug 28 – Halifax, NS – Gus’ Pub – info
Aug 29 – Fredericton, NB – Charlotte Street Arts Center – info
About The Apex
They are a collective of individuals from the Ontario metal community, whom over the years have come together from past bands such as, Closed Casket Funeral, Dismata, Blood Shot Eye, The Coalition Design, and Corprophemia to form The Apex.
In a true culmination of talent, dedication, and timing, this group has created a unique hometown sound that is now being called “Windsor Ghetto Tech”. The brutal sonic assault of their music coupled with the emotional reckless abandonment of their live performance, have drawn stanch comparisons to Meshuggah and classic Dillinger Escape Plan rounded out with a distinctly Canadian flair. To add influence, vocalist Darren M. suffers from Neurogenic Stammering, which effects his speech where the brain won’t tell the mouth what to say so he’s unable to carry on a normal conversation, but for some reason he’s able to scream all the lyrics live and that is how he gets to express himself vocally with the band.
In July, 2014 they entered Shark Tank Productions studio in Windsor, Ontario to begin recording their debut self-titled full length album, The Apex. They hired engineer Nick Kinnish of Serafina Productions (Johnny Truent, Architects, and more) to aid them in capturing their sound accurately. In November, 2014 they completed their recording and announced the independent release date of February 21st, 2015. In 2016, the band entered Empire Recording Studios to record their next release, the EP Underbelly which is now unleashed and available for streaming/purchase!