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The sound of Apewards’ latest records ‘Akrasia’ falls snugly into the rarer-by-the-day category of live-recorded music, with crunchy analog leanings and heavy-handed performances, spun with modern production and a sublime amount of terrific riffs. 

A rock trio that hails from the town of Marburg, Germany, Apewards is built on collective experiences shared by its three founding members, having met each other way back in 2012 and then quickly became the loudest band in town. Now, more than a decade later, it’s good to see that the band still retains the loudness status, and it is on a gregarious display on ‘Akrasia’.

Recorded on tape and mixed on an analog console at the Red Roof Loftsound Studio, under directions from producer Matt Korr, the album boasts of a clinically clean sound, which is a hallmark of a band that’s fully in control of their craft, and with minimal use of overdubs, the band managed to fully focus on its live sound. The pristine results really show a trio of talented individuals rebutting technology not because they don’t like it, but because they know they don’t need it, and it is truly refreshing to behold. 

The album starts with the pounding behemoth intro riff of ‘Last Dance’. Super cool part #1. A song we previously covered, the swirling, stoner riffs of this cut, the meaty bass fills, and high-reaching vocals carry a nod towards ‘Black Dog’ and countless other classic rock anthems. The piece also introduces us to the band’s ferociously driven guitars, always loud, never over the top, and that false outro really got me. The following ‘Anima’ introduces a different face of Apewards. Arctic Monkey-esque, snaky riffs and charismatic, wide-ranged vocals flow off the shuffled beats and melodic, intertwining, harmonized guitars, crunchy and tasteful. The fuzzed-out guitar that introduces a heavy, slow section struggles for air as its signal gets squashed underneath a hefty, brutal fuzz. Super cool part #2.

‘Stories’ follow with a similar formula. More break-neck paced riffs dot ‘Stories’ as its punk inspirations bud through and a ripping guitar solo effortlessly proves itself to be the album’s cool part #3. ‘Take the Lead’ is a bit of a magnum opus for Akrasia. This charismatic driving ballad is characterized with melodic riffs and a terrific arrangement, filled with nuance and with a massive amount of detail. While the song’s anthemic composition could have benefited from a pad to wet the soundscape a little, there can be no denying that the song’s deep lyrics and touching melodies easily make it one of the album’s more stirring and memorable cuts. 

After the short acoustic interlude of the gorgeous ‘Together Silent’, the album’s magnum opus (one more) hits. The iconically titled ‘Death Cult of Denial’ hits with stoner riffs, sweetly overdriven guitars, and more-than-capable vocals, for nearly five minutes of intense headbanging and gawking in awe on the riffs and tones. The song’s melancholia-ridden riffs and melodies carry a whiff of mystique in their composition that makes the heavy, sludgy riffs unforgettable. Thus, I declare the album’s cool parts no. 4, 5, and 6 to fall somewhere on ‘Death Cult of Denial’.  

‘What Hold Us Together is Decay’ is the album’s unabashed heaviest cut. With gigantic distortions and classic rock wails, this cut alone could carry Apewards’ reputation for loudness for years to come. It is not loud without taste, mind you. The piece is home to one of the album’s most memorable motifs, around which the litany of riffs and song sections are formed. It is just that this is a multi-phased piece of sprawling, orchestrated madness, with each phase just as heavy handed and hard rocking as the one that follows. Mostly inspired by classic rock ballads, the album’s title piece is its magnum opus (just hear me out). The song’s mild tempo and bass-heavy melodic riffs, blended in with restrained and impassioned guitars, introduce an atmosphere that’s unlike anything else on the album, immediately grabbing the attention, and for the album’s penultimate track, it takes talents to keep things fresh for that long. A fast-paced part with punchy riffs and a killer solo obviously -and thankfully- arrive, breaking the pace with a bit of hearty, classic driving rock, à la AC/DC and Steppenwolf, before retiring to the main melody, ultimately giving in to the album’s black sheep closer. ‘Half an Angel’ closes the record with an eerie, inwards, recollecting piece of instrumental, dissonant keyboard (where were those when we most needed them?) with a phased fender Rhodes that manages to effortlessly wash away the rocking brutality of the remainder of the album. 

For fans of classic rock that never gets old, Apeward’s ‘Akrasia’ is an impressive achievement from the loudest band in all of Marburg. Fantastically produced and performed, the album’s cuts are written with love and attention to detail, and then masterfully executed. The whole listen is fresh and exciting and the effects are immediately invigorating.