The Dirger is a by-the-book definition of "filthy". The muddy production, shouted vocals, and ultra-distorted guitars make for some of the dirtiest rock and roll out there - and I love it! Ape! may not be the first band to use this sort of filth-oriented sound, but they do it pretty damn well and made quite an enjoyable full-length with The Dirger. Ape! really is just a fun act to listen to, and possibly even more fun to experience live. I saw these guys live not too long ago at a local venue; I remember them being full of energy and playing some killer tunes (many of them from The Dirger). If you like super-heavy and distorted music, I'd recommend heading over to Ape!'s BandCamp page and grabbing a free download of this (and possibly catch them live if you reside in the Philadelphia area).
Ape! plays a mixture of sludge metal, grunge rock, stoner rock, and doom metal with influences from acts like The Melvins, Queens of the Stone Age, Neurosis, and more "retro" acts like Black Sabbath. Ape! clearly has listened to a lot of the early 70's proto metal/doom metal, and that raw atmosphere shines through plentifully on The Dirger. The songs are also all generally short, which gives the album a bit of a punky vibe. The Dirger is really just a ton of fun to listen to, with its raw and energetic atmosphere really making for some enjoyable listens. It lacks a bit in variation, though, and may not demand a whole lot of replays - The Dirger isn't quite deep enough for me to come back to more than every once in a while. That still doesn't take away the album's tremendous assets, though - the raw and unpolished production is one of the most enjoyable I've ever heard, the riffs are excellent, and the vocals are rough and energetic. Those are all the necessary ingredients for making a quality doom/sludge metal album, and I applaud Ape! for successfully achieving all of them!
When all is said and done, The Dirger is a highly enjoyable (if a tad shallow) effort that all fans of gritty hard rock side should look into. After all, this is available for free and legal download, so there's no reason not to at least give it a few spins. I'll rate this album with a recommendable 3 - 3.5 stars. If you have the chance of catching Ape! at a live show, I definitely wouldn't pass up the opportunity! They're an extremely fun act, and this is the type of music that demands to be heard live!
1. Black Blood
2. Judas' Dog
3. I Wish I Could Kill Myself Again
4. Pretty In A Boring Way
5. Dead On The Vine
6. Alcohol and Knives
7. Weekends in The Abyss
8. The Ballad Of Juan Montoya
9. This Is My Rifle