Sunday, April 30, 2017

The Apocalypse Afterparty - "Bufflesnort" EP Review!!

At last, it's time for our 94th monthly CD review at The Sault Metal Scene, as we're finally taking a look at local rap/metal project The Apocalypse Afterparty's debut EP "Bufflesnort"! After being in the works since 2014, the EP received it's initial soft release on Thursday at the soon-to-be-relocated private venue Mellow D's Underground, with tracks recorded last year at Mission Control Studios with producer Dustin Jones,and mixed by Simon Head at Insight Recorders. The Apocalypse Afterparty are represented here by singer/bassist Z, bassist x, and MPC effects board player z (pronounced "zed"), who totally aren't "songwriters" Paul Stanghetta, Sara Biedermann, and Amanda Brown. Drum tracks were recorded by Z, ex-drummer Amber McKay (now in The Noochin' Lanterns with Paul & Amanda), and "Sven Derful", while the EP appears to have been recorded in full before percussion/synth player "Lady Rito" joined the group. If I have anything written incorrectly or with gaps regarding The Apocalypse Afterparty's elusive masked lineup, let us know!

Full information on physical releases is forthcoming, but copies of "Bufflesnort" were first released on Thursday, and if last fall's projections line up, they will be available on USB thumb drives and old cell phones (no CD copies are planned), and albums notably have four different cover photos. Copies can be bought at public and private concerts from them and sister band The Noochin' Lanterns, and at venues to be clarified, prices not yet publically stated either, though you can also download it free at this link and stream it on Paul's YouTube channel. If they update fans soon on missing details, we'll update this, but for now, let's begin our review! Running for 14 minutes across 4 songs (all in the 3-4 minute range), let's start with the first song, "4th Liner", which is is the first song on the advance copy that I received last fall, your mileage may vary if streaming the EP.

Right away showcasing a bass & drum style with aggressive rapping by Z, this later does include some soulful singing, and while they lack a guitarist (like predecessor local band The Fury), the double bass work is melodic and funky underneath the vocals, and there is definitely a harsh tone at times during the rapping. "4th Liner" is a lively yet minimalistic opener overall, with fun lyrics and the first glimpse of the hockey theme that permeates most of the EP! Second is The Apocalypse Afterparty's cover of Saul Williams' "List of Demands (Reparations)", a prior Fury cover favourite that The Double Eh have re-titled "Better Than The Hives Did It", referencing the Swedish garage rock band's earlier cover of the song. Arguably a fuller track overall than "4th Liner", this has more of a grinding bass riff, fuller drumming, and more sung vocals, and it suits The Apocalypse Afterparty's established sound! The MPC also comes a little more into use here from z, and this is a fun and upbeat rendition with extra live familiarity for long-time fans!

Third is "Lace 'Em Up",  which uses extra sampling and backing audio compared to prior tracks (including what sounds like sonar in a submarine), and it's more of a fully realized song than "4th Liner", with a very fast pace and quickly rapped rhymes from Z, though at the sacrifice of far less sung vocals. Is it wrong to say that the bass riff sounds a bit like "Do I Wanna Know?" by The Arctic Monkeys at times? Z and x handle the strings just fine on this rapid-fire original, a definite highlight on "Bufflesnort" so far! The EP closes with "Stanley Cup (Top Dogs)", which was originally titled ".500 Hockey" in advance copies. Harbouring a bouncy riff with catchy rapping until the masks come off (lyrically), then it takes on more of a melodic alt-rock sound for choruses, which actually sounds very out of place when you consider the rest of the EP. If you didn't know better, you'd think it was a clip from a side project! The verses are nice and energetic though, and this is a solid closer to the EP, if a little short compared to prior tracks!

So, what are my final thoughts on "Bufflesnort"? Well, it's a very unique album that showcases the masked bandits having fun and doing what they want with their music, and you can't argue with that! The obvious musical comparison is The Fury, thanks to common "songwriters" and both groups harbouring two bassists & no guitarist, but The Apocalypse Afterparty differentiate with copious rapping, sample and effects usage, and lots of hockey references, and that doesn't even count their visual motif and stage identities. The whole rap/nu-metal craze in the mainstream is a thing of the past, but The Double Eh make it work without seeming forced, with Z's fast rap skills and sense of humour melding well with the bass & drum accompaniment, and it all comes together particularly well on "Lace 'Em Up"! That said, the MPC could have been used more effectively early on, I found the choruses on the last song to be too much of a departure, and the lack of guitars may be distracting for some listeners.

As well, the lack of older Fury-imported originals like "The Crowd" and "Rebel Scum" was disappointing, especially given that a studio version of the former was recorded early in this EP's recording stages, but I can appreciate the emphasis on brand new originals. If you're up for some creative rap/metal fusion tracks from this unique local group, then "Bufflesnort" is worth a listen, so do so above, and hopefully The A.A. end their 2 year+ hiatus from public concerts soon!

I hope you guys liked this month's CD review, but what's coming up next for our May album review topic? At this juncture, I'm not sure, but here's what we can say. In terms of new releases, almost any new hard rock, metal, or punk album is possible if released, though our next review will not be of a new or old Telephone & Address album, as I only just reviewed their newest CD in December (but Chris is fair game again in June!) Our next "Where Are The New Albums?" post makes the site on Tuesday, so give that a look for hints as to what might come next. In terms of archive reviews, The Din's live album "The Din Does Laundry" is possible given their busy month ahead, but with an unclear timeline for their second studio album sessions (I wouldn't want to delay a review of that album), an archive look at a Haggith or A Fall From Innocence CD could come next too. In any event, look for our next album review next month, and stay tuned for more news this week! Thanks everyone!

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