In Ape We Trust Demo
Ahh! Sunny, breezy and beachy Palm Beach recalls the idylls of the upper crust and yachting. But like all objects of beauty, there is a darker and more sinister side lurking beneath. Look at all the times Dayle Hinman got called in to help solve grisly murders! One of the finest metal outfits to emerge from this glorious state hailed from there and took the local, national and international metal scenes by storm between 1988 and 1996/7 when the receptive audiences dwindled. I'm talking about Raped Ape and we're kick-starting this year's Blast From the Past series with their very first demo cassette, In Ape We Trust.
Formed in 1988 by Mike "Pooch" Pucciarelli (guitar/vocals), John Paul Soars (guitar/vocals), J.C. Dwyer (drums) and I believe it was either Pete Sison or Mike Moreno on bass, this demo cassette showcased a great shift in the metal scene at the time with its thrashy hardcore that relied on minimalism and tongue-in-cheek humor. This three-song tape clocks in at slightly over ten minutes and it has everything you need to flip your cap, don the jeans and high-tops and get slamming.
Fans of D.R.I., Municipal Waste and Fueled By Fire will like to take note, these guys did a couple of firsts in metal like the efficient use of backing vocals stylized in death metal manner and a no-frills blend of technical proficiency within the thuggish onslaught of hardcore. These weren't easy feats in 1988 but it turned out that their sound was exactly what the masses needed. Self-releasing tapes and CDs, Raped Ape earned a dedicated local following as well as respect from the Floridian music accolade givers and went into heavy touring during their short tenure.
With fans across the globe, Raped Ape would never truly see the kind of monies they deserved because of their uncompromising stance against changing their name (which they would do eventually, buckling to industry pressures... but we'll discuss that on a later post). And about the name, "raped ape" was slang in heavy use from WWII through the muscle car scene of the '60s where it meant something along the lines of getting out fast or attaining high speed. Certainly not anything that should concern PETA, but oh well. Neat name.
"Edge of Mortality" opens it up and holds it for almost three minutes of guitars and blast beats that doesn't let go. I especially like the clean vocals, clean enough to follow along and still tough enough to exist within. "Evangelistic Deceptor" follows it with a cutesy Code Blue announcement and here we see some grooving go down with slower tempo, it's a solid headbanger. "Raped Ape" finishes it off with a call-to-arms and a funny take on the androgyny of MTV in that era, you know, when they actually featured music in their programming.
While I don't know much about the fates of the members beyond the name change to Paingod and the split, I do know that "Pooch" Pucciarelli is a respected and sought-after tattoo artist in Lake Worth who's been turning out some beautiful body art with deep interests in biomechanics and Mexican death lore. His paintings often involve a bizarre passion for carnival rides and death's heads and are prized by the Juxtapoz Magazine reading crowd. His shop is called Altered State Tattoo. Pay him a visit and you might get some good stories of the golden days of South Florida metal.
We'll be looking at another cassette release Perpetual Aggravation, the '94 demo and the classic album, Terminal Reality pretty soon. In the meantime, enjoy a stream of the discussed demo below and click here to download the tracks, compliments of my friend Chip Walbert and his blog The South Florida Music Scene Past and Present.