Recorded with Jesse Gander at The Hive Creative Labs shortly before its untimely demise earlier this fall, Ape War gift us their second EP, Templar. With typical skill, Gander lends a clarity and heft to the band’s sound without compromising their raw power.
Opener “Corgy” begins with the kind of skewed punk-jazz awkwardness of local legends Nomeansno, before careering headlong into 40 seconds of frenzied hardcore abandon. Before you know it, Ape War have blitzed through three tracks in barely two minutes but because of the sheer speed and ferocity of their attack they almost risk sounding a little monotonous.
Fourth track, “Voyager,” comes just at the right time by slowing things down and drawing out just one lurching riff over two-and-a-half minutes. It’s this contrast of approaches that makes the band so effective; without the relentless fury of the preceding tracks, the idea of hammering one riff into the ground for so long just wouldn’t work as brilliantly as it does.
“Born of Sodom” strays further still from the often restrictive hardcore template into visceral metal riffage before switching into a tense and discordant passage that sounds like it’s only going to last for a few seconds but instead remains for the rest of the song. It’s unexpected, it’s punishing, and it’s bloody brutal. Kinda like a large primate in some kind of conflict.