APPLEHEAD: The Light Side Of The Apple

Greg Minier’s Applehead has released their second album some 30 years after the debut. Entitled ‘The Light Side of the Apple’ Applehead has delivered a powerful rock statement. Roxx Records is the label which you can find this absolutely stellar piece of hard rock/metal muscle. In a nutshell Roxx has released one of the greatest albums in their entire discography which goes back nearly 20 years.

Some have described The Light Side of the Apple with vibes like “reminds me of Alice in Chains…” “Sounds like Altar Bridge or Tremonti…” I’ve even read some who thought Greg’s vocal reflected a vibe like Scott Weiland of Stone Temple Pilots. Whatever it is make no mistake this IS NOT AN 80s album, heck it’s not even a 90s album. There are some fantastic allusions to music of the past but have been carefully packaged updated and delivered like a modern metal/rock album in 2023 should be.

Undoubtedly you have seen the music video for the pre-release single “Down” (one of the best rock songs of the year!). Pure groove, melody, power and crunch with a hook that will not quit! A story of redemption and salvation, but it feels incredibly autobiographical. By Greg’s own admission it is. The hooks here is so simple but amazingly effective and MEMORABLE!! Only the best songs remain with you and this one falls into that category.  Dynamics and arrangement move this track from average to classic and FRESH! A 10 star knockout.

Another track that moves into the upper echelon of classic is the song “Pretty Creepy.” It’s not what you think, I mean a song about Samson and Delilah!!  And it’s from the point of view of Samson, first person! Fresh take!! With a brilliantly executed hook and memorable melody line.  Heavy, groovy atmospheric and with such attitude that it demands an immediate replay. And again there are dynamics a plenty with lots of give and take. Lyrically it doesn’t say it’s about Samson and Delilah, but if one is familiar with the story from the Old Testament it’s very evident. Such a fresh take here.

The first couple of times through the album I thought this album was quite good. However as I played it there were so many twists and turns musically, dynamics within songs I wasn’t expecting. The opening track “Raze Hell” starts with the expected crunchy riff and even adds a melodic keyboard part (harpsichord?) with a great staccato  like verse. Yet in the middle of the song it breaks down again with an unexpected acoustic guitar part. Highly memorable with another infectious melody that won’t quit! He even brings out a talk box!!

I would be remiss if I failed to mention the ‘epic suite’ entitled ‘The Destiny” which clocks in at over 13 minutes! Highly surprising but is anything but a snooze fest.  A maze of music twists and turns that is not simply overindulgent noodling. The Destiny is literally a complete overview of the story of man presented to us in the Bible. Sometimes presented in the third person sometimes presented in the first person.  Musically it’s heavy melodic, fast at times, highly engaging and with different “voices” of celebration and warning. It’s not preachy but descriptive. Different elements from power to sweeping  atmosphere and melancholy  “The Destiny” is a track worth the price of admission alone. 

One of the songs here really has its tongue firmly planted in cheek,  “A Harmonic Minor” has every metal cliche crammed into one track, on purpose. Not campy at all but as you listen to the music and read the lyrics it becomes quite apparent the cliches are there on purpose, poking fun but not in a derogatory way. This bit of musical whimsy is heavy fast and crushing. It feels like the nod to old school euro power metal which just hammers you into submission. 

Yet there is the moody ballad “And the Rain Comes Down.” Which just feels like an old spiritual with power and prayer-fullness. So much to unpack here, musically and lyrically. It is one of the left turns to the unexpected that is so joyful and heartfelt. An ode to living with PAIN and the Lord is enough, while Greg bristles and scorches a monster guitar solo as the track builds to a climax.

The production fits the music well, moody, atmospheric however all the instruments are clearly defined. At this point let me mention that bass player Jaymi Millard provides bass tones that are rich deep clear and driving. His contribution adds that element which helps bring it all together. When he locks with Greg’s drumming and rhythm guitar playing it just smokes. So much feel these guys have together. 

One must also mention Greg’s lead playing. Extremely melodic, with some nasty attitude and just the right amount of crunch with amazing feel. Vocally Greg delivers an impassioned and richly heartfelt vocal. It’s the real deal. 

There is so much more I wish to say about this release however I will attempt to be brief. I must confess originally hadn’t been that ‘excited’ about it, just a “cool stuff coming out” kinda vibe.  Admittedly there are so many albums coming out and some extremely high profile releases that I’ve been waiting for this release was just another album on the “docket.”   This album snuck up on me  like a f-22 moving faster than sound and has left me destroyed, I can’t stop playing it!! I’m reading lyrics to my wife like a 14 year old kid… 

With so many different parts that really shouldn’t work together, yet in its musical diversity ‘The Light Side of the Apple’ has notched itself unique. It definitely has launched itself in album of the year category discussion in my opinion. Perhaps even beyond that, this is one of the FINEST albums Roxx Records has EVER released. Don’t miss out and immediately snag one today!!

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