APEX VI: A Minnesotan’s Apocalyptic Odyssey

2005
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I recently got the opportunity to fly from Minnesota to New York City to attend two of three days of APEX VI. The event, billed as an “apocalyptic music event”, was held in Queens, New York over the weekend of June 5th – June 7th. It was hosted by Theologian of Annihilvs Power Electronix. I caught a couple performances I was dying to see, and was introduced to a plethora of new exciting “musical” acts.

While I was in New York City on June 5th, I learned through the usual social media channels that Burial Hex would not make his scheduled appearance. I have gushed over 2014’s The Heirophant on this very site more than once. Reminder: it’s brilliant. It’s one of my favorite pieces of music from last year. It made me an instant fan. The news was quite discouraging. Burial Hex is not an artist I have had or will have many opportunities to see. I wrote “that sucks” on the announcement; by the end of the weekend I had almost forgotten he was scheduled to play.

On the first night of the event, my two favorite performances belonged to Sutekh Hexen and IRM. Sutekh Hexen occupied the upstairs stage a couple of acts in. They played as a three piece, two guitarists and a vocalist who dwarfed them both. They played a chaotic mix of raw black metal and noise; the volume was so loud that at times it all droned together like a more intense version of Sunn 0))). IRM accomplished the impressive feat of following them up and matching their performance. IRM play industrial or post-industrial noise. They also played as a three piece live, with vocalist Martin Bladh, a guitarist, and someone operating the noise. I was impressed that they maintained a high quality of sound given their medium even at such a tremendous volume.

After buying my ticket to the event and planning the trip, Gnaw Their Tongues played Maryland Deathfest in the interim, to mostly negative reviews from fans – at least that was what I heard and read. I have to say I had a much different experience with his performance than what was reported to me. I imagine a noise fest is a better setting for Gnaw Their Tongues than a large scale metal festival. I also think the intimate venue made a difference. His set was dark, fast, and intense. The first night of the event ran late, and he played well after 2:00 am. I admit I was somewhat distracted, because I was attempting to find a car service to make it across town to my lodging.

All videos can be credited to Frank Huang of Pit Full of Shit. His video work is excellent; videos do not do justice to some of these performances. No video was available for
Menace Ruine’s set.

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I did not catch Svartsinn’s set the second night. It was a case of the spirit is willing, but the body is broken. My favorite performances from that night were the final two performances of the event, Sophia + Karjalan Sissit and The Body. Sophia + Karjalan Sissit opened their set with three incredible songs. As a three piece, two men alternated between doing vocals and playing drums and a sheet of steel which had been set up as a drumset on the stage. They had a military, martial vibe. Their set was delayed due to technical issues. After an interlude (which consisted of many Europeans in the audience shouting jokes at them), they finished a long set. Regrettably I could not hear their mics after the intermission, but they still put on a hell of a show. Karjalan Sissit was a madman on stage.

I had seen postings on social media and heard rumors over the weekend that The Body would be playing “as their largest incarnation ever”. At the beginning of the night Sunday I got a chance to talk with two men who were at the venue to play with them, and they confirmed that The Body would be playing as a nine piece band. After Sophia + Karjalan Sissit, they began setting up the stage and surrounding area for the performance. They dragged their speakers and sound systems out as well. I had been wearing ear plugs all weekend, and many of the acts still played at unreal volumes. Seeing them set up additional speakers was a bit startling, to say the least. This version of The Body was four drummers (including Lee Buford), a couple of guitarists (including Chip King, also on vocals), a man operating some sort of mechanically triggered drum, and two men operating noise equipment (including Theologian). In twenty five minutes they laid waste to the venue. The drumming was totally synchronized; each cymbal and hi-hat was deafening. It was the loudest concert I have ever heard, and easily one of the best performances. I stuck around after their set and got a chance to meet both Lee Buford and Chip King. They were both really friendly and cool. I asked Lee how he felt playing a noise fest and he told me it was more in line with who they are and what they listen to.

Over the course of the weekend I also had the opportunity to meet metal writer Kim Kelly and Theologian, the event’s curator. I also met and hung out with noise musician Auditor, and we ended up spending a lot of time discussing heavy metal and noise. I talked with Lee / Theologian a bit about Burial Hex’s cancellation, and the Gnaw Their Tongues Maryland Deathfest appearance. I learned Brandon / Auditor would be playing keyboards live with Aevangelist on their next tour. It was a tremendous experience meeting all three (among many others I met over the weekend), which only added to the musical performances.

The event was well organized, and it proved to be an unforgettable weekend for me. At the end of this post is a flyer for another APEX event in August. I would encourage all of our East Coast friends to attend, even if this isn’t usually your cup of tea. Richard Ramirez and The Rita are both very prominent acts in the world of noise.

All videos can be credited to Frank Huang of Pit Full of Shit.

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You can check out some professional photos of the event over at Brooklyn Vegan.

Cover image via

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