Saturday, June 1, 2013

Album Review: Bodies In The Gears Of The Apparatus - Simian Hybrid Prototype

Bodies In The Gears Of The Apparatus sound like a band whose harness is breaking away from the musically translated hate they spew.  Harboring the second coolest name in Grind, (Maruta being the first) and hailing from Clearwater, Florida the group cuts you into a thousand pieces using an arsenal of chaotic and technical grindcore, with the perfect amount of recorded-in-one-take slop/vibe to really make it feel like something guerilla. To me it sounds like an evolutionary step from the new direction Discordance Axis sonically took the genre years ago with their amazing catalogue. Adding a bassist and a second guitarist to the DA formula, at breakneck speeds it sometimes sounds like 8 people caterwauling their instruments into a whirlwind of spittle and spite that wrings and twists a riff into ten different variations of the hybrid before it finally morphs into something musically legible and locked in. And just when your brain catches up with the rhythm long enough to start nodding your head BITGOTA take a sharp 90 degree turn and begin pulverizing something new.
I’d been spinning the three songs the group released after this album on a split with Despised Icon on and off for years because at the time it was the only thing I could track down of theirs. To be honest I didn’t even realize the group had a full EP (isn't an 11 track grindcore record considered a full length LP these days? If it’s good enough for Gridlink it’s good enough for me) until about a year and a half ago. Shame on me for shuffling them to the back of the pack, but in my defense, this album showcases a sound and songwriting that much more interesting than what the band released on the split.
Simian Hybrid Prototype opens with “A Lubricated Rubber Glove And Pornographic Photos Of A Decapitated Chinese Hooker”, one of the longer tracks on the record at almost 3 minutes it both pummels and blisters during it’s entirety, introducing the listener to the sound that is. The second track, “Of Things To Come”, is a three minute sample of what sounds like a bit from a 1940’s Hollywood war propaganda movie. I must admit that at first listen I fell into the commonplace and got a bit annoyed at the fact that they would pull the chute after such a cathartic opening free fall. I kept waiting for the sample to end and the cacophony to start back up but it just kept going. In Anal Cunt time units three minutes feels like the second half of Dark Side Of The Moon. But upon further detailed contemplation I’ve concurred that I agree with the move and find it appropriate in that it makes you realize that the band it going to do whatever they damn well please, and though it’s still a grindcore record it’s unpredictable within it’s own sound. Take for example “Fuck Her Like You Paid For It”, it follows suit with what you’d expect to hear from the bulk of the album but at the 44 second mark it breaks into an almost jazz-ambient sort of interlude, complete with random piano key strikes – all the while still somehow coiling in it’s intensity. Like breaking a window and then piecing it back together just to break it again. “Seventeen Reasons To Die Wearing Black” harbors the album’s sickest riff at thirty seconds in (the first nineteen being another sample) when the off/on blast-beat ridden build up breaks into a swaggering and bouncy riff for just the briefest of moments. That’s where BITGOTA thrives in their sound – by lulling it’s prey into the technically formulated and complex bursts of noise that go on and on shifting gears and then occasionally throwing in a 10 second stretch of a groove-laden Pantera riff that in any ordinary pierced-ear-heavy-metal nonsense may sound mediocre, while here it stands as not only a highlight and checkpoint within the carnage, but a  break from it without it losing it’s momentum, which strategically gives the music it’s legibility when you step back from it – otherwise our ears wouldn’t have a basis of comparison and we’d simply tune in and tune out.
Sonically it sounds like Simian Hybrid Prototype was recorded in two sessions, because the sound of the instruments occasionally changes back and forth from song to song. While “A Lubricated Rubber Glove And Pornographic Photos Of A Decapitated Chinese Hooker” harbors a clearer, tuned up production, the non-sample track to follow it “Love Affair With A Mannequin” is lower in tone and ever-so-slightly murkier. The snare sounds tighter and more high-pitched and even the vocals on the lower tracks are a bit different, incorporating a more guttural approach on the low end. And then it returns back to the original sound for the next track “Big, Bad, Mean and Nasty”, only to return yet again to the “murkier” tone for “Hoist The Black Flag (And Begin Slitting Throats)". For me however, it does not effect the listening experience and isn’t all that noticeable unless you happen to be a jag-off like myself, in fact if anything it gives the album a variation within itself that by the end of the record seems to flow pretty well and doesn’t feel like it was patched together the way something like Pig Destroyer’s ’38 Counts Of Battery’ was (which was admittedly a patchwork of earlier releases, nobody’s trying to hide anything there).
Simian Hybrid Prototype is a get in, shred the bowels and get out kind of album. It doesn’t over-stay it’s welcome and doesn’t leave you aching for more (because it satisfies not because it sucks). It’s got some goof-ball track titles but it’s always nice to see a band this visceral sounding not taking themselves too seriously (I’m talking to you GAZA – actually keep doing what you’re doing because it’s awesome, oh wait you broke up) just so long as that’s the motive and it’s not a silly ploy to get zit-faced teen shut-ins giving you hits on You Tube. It’s also a bit heavy on the samples, but that can often be a strategy for bands like this to help break up the monotony for not-so-seasoned listeners of the genre. “Of Things To Come” and “The Ugliest Smile In Rock and Roll” are basically all sample, and “Fuck The Middle East” is a 23 second cover of S.O.D., which only leaves eight original compositions on this album, and then another three on the Despised Icon split. An all too short discography but appropriate sort of self-destruction for a group this at-the-throat. Both guitarists of this group - Ian Sturgill and Aaron Haines – went on to form Success Will Write Apocalypse Across The Sky, this album actually makes me want to check out what they went on to do with that.


  1. yeahhhh unfortunately you'll probably be disappointed by their post-bitgota work. neither khann nor success... really captured that same sense of aggression and excitement. but simian hybrid prototype is a solid gold.

    1. You know I think I checked out SWWAATS years ago when they first stepped out - mainly because of the link to BITGOTA - must have not made much of an impression considering I can't remember if I did or not. Honestly I didn't know that Khann existed. Thanks!