Coil were a highly influential experimental group since the mid 1980’s, and Ape of Naples was their final album. It was released as a collection of recent works after the death of singer John Balance. This was my first introduction to the band though, and it’s one that’s posted a lot online as one of their best. Interestingly enough, this might be the best introductory album for the band, some of their earlier works are a little more abrasive. Ape of Naples is dark, deep, brooding, and powerful. I wouldn’t say it’s impossible to understand on first listen, but I would say that it demands several relistens.
Fire of the Mind opens the album with some heavenly organs and what I believe is a distorted hurdy gurdy. The sound is striking and otherworldly, and it only gets more intense over time. “Does death come alone or with eager reinforcements?”.. this is one of the more memorable Coil songs in their discography. It’s juxtaposition of heaven, man, and animalistic nature are evident in the cover art as well – a violently red ape, hands raised but clasped in prayer. Triple Sun is something straight out of a nightmare, just pure adrenaline and anxiety. It’s followed up by the equally horrific It’s In My Blood, and industrial dirge complete with distorted screams and orgasmic groans. Heaven’s Blade is their most purely electronic song on the album, the rest of the album has a signature marimba attached. This track, like the whole of Ape of Naples, is dark and self destructive. Going Up closes the album with the bizarre choice to cover the theme tune from the British sitcom “Are You Being Served?”. It of course doesn’t sound anything like the original theme song, especially with François Testory’s soulful delivery of the mundane lyrics.
Coil’s music is fascinating, but for some reason I can’t identify I don’t come back to it that often. It doesn’t stick in my brain to listen again, there’s no hunger to dive back in again. Saying all that though, when I do see them when scrolling through my music I will be completely engrossed for a day or two, listening to nothing but Coil. This album and the rest of their music is something I completely urge everyone to check out, and see what you think of it.