By Dave Pehling
SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) — Along with fellow Portland, OR-based heavyweights Red Fang and Danava, high-powered quartet Ape Machine has been making it’s modern take on vintage hard rock for the better part of the past decade. Formed by singer Caleb Heinze and guitarist Ian Watts, the quartet self-released their first album, entitled This House Is Condemned, in 2010.
Plenty of stoner-rock groups know how to put together solid riffs, but Ape Machine manage to nod to cornerstone influences like Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath and still write original songs steeped in blues and heavy psychedelia. The band’s follow-up album War To Head in 2011 (which included a blistering version of the Deep Purple cut “Black Night”) further spread the word of the talented group. That effort would lead to a deal with Bay Area based imprint Ripple Music, who put out the band’s more progressive-leaning 2013 concept album Mangled By the Machine.
The band’s reputation grew to the point where Ape Machine started being invited to play a variety of metal and stoner-rock festivals including the Freak Valley Festival in Germany (they would release a live LP/DVD documenting their 2013 performance at the festival through Ripple Music) and this year’s Doomed and Stoned Festival in Indianapolis. While it has been some time since the band’s last release — their 2015 EP Coalition of the Unwilling for Italian label Heavy Psych Sounds Records — Ape Machine has recently been working in the studio with Portland punk legend and longtime drummer for Poison Idea Steve Hanford (aka Thee Slayer Hippy) not only producing the record but hitting the road with the band behind the drum kit.
The band brings its current tour with Seattle-based doom duo Year of the Cobra to the Bottom of the Hill in San Francisco Wednesday. Though the two musicians — bassist/singer Amy Tung Barrysmith and drummer Johanes Barrysmith — have only been making music together for a couple of years, the pair has already established themselves as a force to be reckoned with since the release of their full-length debut album …In the Shadows Below in 2016. Reuniting with former San Francisco studio institution and noted producer Billy Anderson (Acid King, Sleep, Melvins) to record their forthcoming EP Burn Your Dead, the duo’s new effort is set to be released on Magnetic Eye Records later this month. Opening San Jose band and fellow Ripple Music act Zed channel a mix of classic ’80s metal and the ’90s alt-rock heft that recalls Soundgarden and Clutch on their hard-swinging third album Trouble in Eden that came out through the label last fall.
Wednesday, Oct. 11, 8:30 p.m. $10-$12