Exclusive Early Listen: Alter Apex, “Soul Direction”
By August Edwards
ABQGR is thrilled to present an exclusive listen to heavy rock band Alter Apex's new single, "Soul Direction." The single will be streaming on all platforms tomorrow, 10/15, but you can hear it now down below.
In October 2020, Alter Apex released their first song “Tie the Raven.” A band conceived during a time of ruin, they've written potent and elevating music. After an EP and a single released earlier this year, the new single that they're adding to their catalogue is another robust banger to add to your cool-weather festivities.
The band has solidified their standing as a hard rock band with many flavors—the strongest to me still being STP and Soundgarden—calling to the specific kind of whimsy that grungy metal delivers on a silver platter. Lead guitarist Dexter Gonzalez said, “With every song that we work on it feels like we’re that much closer to coming into our own of whatever Alter Apex is supposed to be and ‘Soul Direction’ feels like a natural part of that evolution.”
Hendricks acknowledges the musical influences of this single, such as James Hetfield (Metallica), Story of the Year, Underoath, Chris Cornell, and George Lynch (Dokken). Rugged is the right term for their overall sound; but their signature lies within their delicacy and gentle attention to shared life encounters.
“Soul Direction” contains bulldozing guitar riffs and a rhythm section plugging away like deadly helicopter blades. Alter Apex songs, in their hardy glory, make me want to be around other people in celebration. They’re here to pump you up as you need, but it feels best shared with other people.
I think music has entered a new era because of the pandemic. A band like Alter Apex, who began their work by recording remotely, has made vast transformations while still honoring music they love. “We’ve progressed this year from bedroom lockdown recording artists to live performers,” Gonzalez explains.
At this point, the virus feels unending, though much of our world is resisting the change—school campuses are open, movie theaters are running and don’t seem to have a max capacity, and shows are wholly back (enforcing masks and vaccination documentation in many places). The world is asking a lot of musicians, something that was true even before 2020. For me and many others the act of creation was, and continues to be, difficult through this earthly reckoning. This is to say, bands that not only survived but demonstrated great integrity should be lauded.
One reason why the creation process is difficult, even in the absence of a lockdown, is that art contains pieces of the artist. With four people in the room pouring into one channel, it can be strenuous. “A major lesson we learned with this one is how to remain productive when things are likely to stall in the recording process,” Hendricks said.
Hendricks explained his own writing process; “Lyrically, ‘Soul Direction’ is significant in ways that are hard to put into words for me, [though] there’s at least an aim for communicating something of substantial depth. Something about the course of a person’s life but in the deepest sense, stemming from their very essence.”
“I’ll eat the sun and burn alive / To find…” is a natural hyperbole, but a strain that feels very true. The repetition of “To find…to find…to find…” is indicative of the soul’s warrant to do its own searching. Where “Draw the Curtain” revels in the pain, “Soul Direction” has transitioned into wanting for more.
“I’ve written a few songs in my life where I feel as if I’m writing from this elevated vantage point that sees my past, present, and future all at once, even stretching to past and future lives as strange as that may sound. ‘Soul Direction’ is one of those songs for me,” Hendricks explained. “Yet, I don’t think the lyrics are so unique to my viewpoint that they can’t be identified with by others. We’re all interconnected and living journeys with so many similarities.”
The band would like to acknowledge their good fortune with their collaboration with new peer and creative partner Joe Marsh. Hendricks explains, “Joe’s an amazing producer and mix engineer we’ve met this past year out of the UK. We met him through another amazing band called Attendant. We simply wouldn’t sound this good without him. We’re really happy to have found him.” Marsh has had a hand in “Draw the Curtains” and “Soul Direction.”
Another signifier of Alter Apex's continued success? The band is honest about the role that friendship plays. Drummer Ken Weinman said, “in the past year we’ve grown not only more as friends, but as a band and personally as musicians.” Hendricks agrees; “We’re discovering how we can support one another in the process and help each other through the more difficult spots, all while remaining good friends. We’ve got a good mix of personalities in this group.”
We hope you enjoy "Soul Direction," and we look forward to more ABQGR exclusives in the future.