Apex Theory Lightpost EPAs far as Armenian-Americans making heavy music today, LA’s THE APEX THEORY have often been dwarfed by fellow Armenians and good friends SYSTEM OF A DOWN. This isn’t to say that The Apex Theory — currently made up of guitarist Art Karamian, bassist David Hakopyan and drummer Sammy J. Watson — are any less talented than their more well-known brothers. After building a word-of-mouth reputation around LA for their infectious live show, Dreamworks signed the band and released their debut album Topsy Turvy to critical acclaim in 2002. Topsy Turvy combined the energy of AT THE DRIVE IN, the musical acumen and songwriting sense of early INCUBUS, and the structure of current alt-metal; the band pounded out spacey, ethereal songs that somehow managed to rock HARD, yet they were also able to incorporate hooks and add their own Armenian flavor to the mix. Though the album yielded the minor hit “Shhh… Hope Diggy” and the band toured extensively in its support including a spot on Ozzfest 2002, The Apex Theory failed to gain much traction nationally and have since laid low. In 2004 the band released the inthatskyissomethingwatching EP under the radar, and they are back in 2007 with another EP, Lightpost, which combines elements of the band’s past with what one hopes will be the band’s future.

The Lightpost EP, released through indie label TOYS.of.the.MASSES which is co-owned by the band members themselves and John Dolmayan (System of a Down), is actually one 15-minute long song that is sub-divided into five movements. The band has been without original lead singer Andy Khachaturian for some time now, but has seemingly remained steadfast in his absence. Though the band is now a three-piece with guitarist Karamian on vocals, the core of the band’s sound is intact. Heavy, groove-based rhythms that are propped up by funky basslines mesh with David Gilmour-inspired delay-soaked guitar leads to create a sonic tapestry somewhat reminiscent of San Francisco’s DREDG. Guest musician Djivan Gasparian lends his hand on the duduk, which to me sounds like some sort of woodwind instrument (think a spacier sounding middle eastern version of the clarinet). The landscape created by the dreamy guitars, the duduk, and Karamian’s harmonized vocals is so deep that you can easily get lost in it; yet somehow this band still manages to rock hard when necessary, creating a dynamic that shifts from hard rock to mellow drone seamlessly. The rhythmic shifts and odd meters the band uses are also commendable; clearly these guys take pride in creating music that isn’t necessarily easy for the average listener to wrap his or her head around after only one listen. Simultaneously, this is the downfall of this EP. There aren’t much in the way of actual songs here, and as such many old fans will not be able to get into this EP. Up against the great tunes from Topsy Turvy nothing here quite matches that level, but I doubt that the band intended to write radio-friendly 3-minute songs here and as such you can’t really fault them much for it.

My only other complaint with this disc is that there isn’t more of it. According to The Apex Theory’s MySpace page, there is a full-length release called Faces currently brewing that is set for a release sometime this summer. Get that out soon, guys, and hit the road.


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Buy Lightpost from The Apex Theory’s website!

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