Band: APOLLO 18Genres: Punk / Rock'n'Roll / Noise Rock / Indie Rock / Shoegaze / Instrumental / Post-Hardcore / Hardcore / Screamo / Noise / Experimental
Related artists: N/A.
Country: Seoul, SOUTH KOREA
Years Active: 2008-present
Song: "Discharge" and "End"
Album: "Demo" and "The Red Album"
Label(s): Estella Records / GMC Records
This post's artist is from the April 2014 Mix. This is track #6 and #10.
You can download the April 2014 Mix#5 right here or get the new July Mix#7 here.
For fans of: Clouds, Rye Coalition, Dip Leg, Envy, Hollow Jan, 5ive, Cyrus Gold, Transistor Transistor, Every Time I Die, Hollow Jan, Evylock, Life In Vacuum, Secret Arms and Aim Of Conrad.
APOLLO 18 were the first Korean band to really catch and hold my attention. It's my job to teach South Koreans every day, so I know a fair amount about the mainstream scene there - and it's pretty goddamn bleak. Manufactured pop "artists" run amok with elementary school lyrics, plastic surgery and some pretty weak dance moves, which was one of the primary reasons that the band APOLLO 18 struck a chord with me while I spent 2.5 years in South Korea.
I happened to go to a cd release show for the band because a mister Shawn Despres wrote about the band in a publication, which drew my wife's attention and she proceeded to tell me. I really didn't expect much, but once the guitarist and bassist started screaming back and forth I almost went ballistic.
The band's elusive 'Demo' (which I'll insert as a download soon) includes some weaker tracks vocally, but "Discharge" is a goddamned instrumental masterpiece that truly basks in Envy territory. The driving, heavy yet melodic song with sprawling guitars and textbook transitions could be placed on any of Envy's records during the late 90s to mid-2000s-era and clocks in at just over 6 minutes.
'The Blue Album' is APOLLO 18's most consistent effort and includes 4 of the band's best songs. "High Stepper" is a sassy/screaming romp with some squealing guitar riffs before the chorus kicks in and the dual screaming takes hold with "I hope you fucking burn, burn!". The next amazing track is "Iridescent Clouds" which has a very ambient and shoegazey feel to it when the distorted and screamy sludge/grunge isn't at the forefront. "Manic Depressive" is pretty close to being an instrumental-only song, but dips into some screamed vocals over top a pretty basic shoegaze/post-hardcore/screamo sound. All of these pale in comparison (well...not really) to the amazing "Trampoline", with it's stuttering/screamed vocals, palm-muting and flamboyant chorus which sounds like a cross between Rye Coalition, Every Time I Die and Clouds.
'The Red Album' is mediocre but contains "End" and "Discharge" (again), which are the closest things to an Envy song that I've ever heard, and I assume quite a few people probably thought the songs on the OMSB mix were Envy. "End" even includes vocals that sound like the Japanese all-stars.
'The Violet Album' doesn't really have any tracks that I dig all that much and is mostly instrumental/atmospherics. A lot of people I know are really into that stuff as well as aggressive music so a fair amount of listeners will probably like it.
'The Black Album' is a great EP. "Corpse Flower" is the strongest track that the band has ever recorded, and as an EP it flows really well as all 4 songs are better than anything from 'The Violet Album'. The EP basically covers the different styles that the band was perfecting over their previous albums. Going back to "Corpse Flower" briefly, the 3:20 song sounds like spacey and hyperactive Sacrifice Poles mixed with the back and forth screaming of bands such as Ice Hockey and Birthday Boyz, although I'm hard pressed to think of accurate comparisons.
As I have steady contact with Koreans, I decided to ask the band if they'd like to answer some interview questions to which they happily obliged. Linked below is the interview in full, as well as all of the old APOLLO 18 videos I was able to scrounge together from the 2 concerts I attended.
2009 - Demo cdEP
2009 - The Blue Album cdLP (stream/buy here)
2009 - The Red Album cdLP (stream/buy here)
2010 - The Violet Album cdEP (stream/buy here)
2011 - The Black Album cdEP (stream/buy here)
(2010) APOLLO 18 - "Trampoline / High Stepper" live video
(2011) APOLLO 18 - "Corpse Flower" (from 'The Black Album')
(2009) APOLLO 18 - "End" (from 'The Red Album')
(2009) APOLLO 18 - "Manic Depressive" (from 'The Blue Album')
(2009) APOLLO 18 - "Trampoline" (from 'The Blue Album')
(2008) APOLLO 18 - "Discharge" (from 'Demo')
(2009) APOLLO 18 - "Discharge" live video
APOLLO 18 Additional links
Link to the complete interview (here)