ABQ Green Room
Debut EP Review: Alter Apex
By Mike Trujillo
In my first draft of this review, I started out with another “woe is us” existential crisis brought by COVID-19, moaning and groaning and regurgitating all kinds of tired cliches. Then I thought to myself, screw this! I'm sick, you’re sick, we're all sick of hearing and talking about it. Instead, lets dive into the core of this featured four song EP and its task at hand, which is to make me rock out with my *ahem* out! …well, you know! Let us, however, not forget that necessity is the mother of invention, and the byproduct of the pandemic.
Case in point, Alter Apex—an Albuquerque supergroup of sorts, comprised of (bassist) Eric Garey formerly of Left Unsaid and currently with Crown & Casket, Ken Weinman (drums) formerly of Time 4 Change, Ken Hendricks (Vocals, guitars), and Dexter Gonzalez (Lead guitar/vocals). These guys have spent 20+ years playing punk/pop punk in Albuquerque. As Garey states, "we had the idea of doing a grunge project,” and they have a delivered this tribute with four original songs.
Alter Apex started tracking demos in August of 2020, all virtually, then sent them to a producer overseas in Prague. The band then met up in person for the first time at the end of September to film four music videos that they have since released to coincide with their EP in October. This release is solid comfort food for the ears, listenable therapy...fun music for not so fun times. I’ll indulge myself and say it’s in the style of many of our heroes, such as Alice in Chains with a smattering of Stone Temple Pilots.
The mix and the production are remarkable despite the process by which this was recorded—without the intimacy of each other’s presence—a testament to their experience and professionalism. Alter Apex does not try to reinvent the wheel, they just take their influence and keep it well oiled. Sophisticated execution, great Cantrell-like vocal melodies, and four great songs that just make you groove and long for being at a party in the backyard of someone's house, near a bonfire and a keg!
Make no mistake, there is depth lyrically as well, which is very appealing and smart as in the case of the track "Blessings.” You have to appreciate a chorus like this: "Bless the lovely union that spawned my life / Bless the Mother’s son / Bless the loaded gun that blew my mind / Bless when it’s all said and done / It's all a part of it, yeah." Good shit, no doubt. "It's Alright” throws down grunge righteousness, a holy convergence of Nirvana and Soundgarden. "Tie the Raven" and "So Yeah,” just as the other two tracks, rip riffs that are meaty and soul-tranquilizing.
This is a must listen, and a serious local effort preparing you for the live version. Find the EP on Bandcamp and Spotify and check out their music videos while you're at it. Get ready to party once shows return and we're somewhat back to normal. Please check this out, by all means. This rules...Yes!
Zero Hour Squared Classics