It’s as heavy and deep as it gets when the Stalybridge overlords of desolation Dead Sea Apes bring together their trademark space rock with the heavy dredd of dub.
The signs were there; on the previous album, Spectral Domain, Dead Sea Apes showed their hand with a new direction. It was called ‘Sixth Side Of The Pentagon’ and was a little bit like an existential version of Alternative TV’s ‘Love Lies Limp’. Just like ‘Fodderstomp’ on the original Public Image album, the last track on one album paves the way for the next album. Experimental becoming conventional. So now, the sixth side has sprouted tentacles (and ‘Tentacles’) and a life of its own. Here it is in full album form. The song ‘Sixth Side Of The Pentagon’ has now been fractured and runs like a fissure through the album The Sixth Side Of The Pentagon.
It’s rather pointless to talk about individual songs. This is a huge collage of dub echoes and shards amidst bleak space rock voids. It’s gloomy and oppressive but the thing with Dead Sea Apes is that the rhythm section of Nick and Chris is always right to the front so there’s always something to do. This isn’t background music, which is where many bands of this ilk can become unstuck. With Dead Sea Apes you can always nod your head. The gluey bass and the insistent drums always keep your head in the right space. But long-term DSA fans need not worry, there are still huge icebergs of guitar from Brett.
Actually I will mention one song, the simply incredible ‘Tentacles (The Machine Marches On)’ in which Dead Sea Apes team up with economist Adam Stone. The result is a noxious head spinning brew of words and music. Here is a sample of the lyrics:
Do you feel the system breathing for you?
The system is multi-tentacled,
Punctuated by profuse and drooling circular mouth-holes
And foul, ever-monitoring eyes.
Each writhing tendril fastens itself to the base of every willing human skull
And spreads pseudopods the length of every buckled spine.
The system is rapacious, self-destructive,
Feeding, gorging on death and violence.
The system is invisible to those who are drained by it,
Their vampire teeth glinting in the pale light of your smartphone.
Regardless of future extinction, the machine rolls on.
What is this sickness that seeks to infiltrate every corner
Of our waking and sleeping lives?
It is the madness of the system as it belches forth multi-variations on the commodity theme.
Desire for commodity equals behaviour modification,
Control masquerading as choice and freedom.
Sixth Side Of The Pentagon is a startling new direction for Dead Sea Apes but a triumphant success.
If you like dub buy it. If you like space rock buy it. If you like Dead Sea Apes buy it.