Apathy Cycle - Critical Thinking [EP] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Apathy Cycle

Critical Thinking [EP] (2014)

Landlocked Collective

Santa Ana, California’s Apathy Cycle has come out with its third release, the Critical Thinking EP. This EP’s sound touches upon different subgenres through out it. There’s a little ska. There’s even some metal and hip-hop. All of these are mixed in the with Apathy Cycle’s overall melodic hardcore sound.

Let’s get the negatives out of the way first. Of the four tracks on this EP, the one that lags is the song “GroupThink Different.” This song is where you hear a lot of the band’s metal influence. There’s plenty of crunchy-sounding guitars and a highly distorted, descending guitar riff. It also has some good lyrics like “And we grow up to accept a mindset that is safe/A comfort in compliance as it puts us in our place.” But where “GroupThink Different” goes down hill is about halfway through at the breakdown where MC Delvin of Mad Conductor does his guest hip-hop verse which bleeds into a screaming verse. And after this breakdown is done the song doesn’t recover and transition that well to the last chorus/outro. It’s a bit awkward.

But don’t let that deter you from listening to the Critical Thinking EP. The title track is great melodic hardcore song. It starts out with a guitar riff that will get stuck in your head for days, and it helps build up tension until the verses start. Rather than having the lead guitarist just play straight chords, he makes really creative use of guitar harmonics in the pre-chorus instead. This is the song where you get a ska interlude, which then transitions into both guitars playing solos while harmonizing with each other. Of the three original songs on this EP, “Critical Thinking” definitely one that stands out the most for its really catchy chorus and “no-bullshit” lyrics like “Objective interpretation/ Unbiased assertions/ Sensible determination/ Evidence through observation.”

The last track on this EP is Apathy Cycle’s cover of Fugazi’s “Great Cop.” Though the band performs it well on this EP, they didn’t do a whole lot new to it and that’s fine. If they had strayed anymore away from the original it probably would have been overdone. But they did incorporate a few interesting additions to the song. For one thing, the lyrics are a bit more comprehensible compared to Fugazi’s original. Apathy Cycle also added a few ascending high notes, bends and octaves to the guitar parts in the choruses. Also, just as the chorus ends you can hear what sounds like either a recorded protest or riot in the background, which was a nice touch. The band also added echo effects to the singer’s voice along with some other sound effects that are scattered throughout the song. Other than those changes, it’s a fairly straightforward cover.

You can check out this EP here.