Album Review: Aashray by Apex Ten

The Belgian psych-rockers Apex Ten have returned triumphantly with their newest album, Aashray. There are few things I like better than a record of psychedelic jams and improvisations, and this record has it in spades.

The band is a (mostly) instrumental power trio formed in 2021 in Liège, Belgium, featuring Alexis Radelet (drums), Brad Masaya (bass), and Benoît Velez (guitar). They use instruments such as lap steel, a synth, and a theremin to create the fluid, heavy, stoner psychedelia that the Third Eye surely loves.

About Aashray

Ashray was recorded on December 30, 2021, at Koko Studio in Sprimont, Belgium. The band says the album is composed of jams and improvisations, and there are plenty of Hindu-influenced sounds (hence the album’s name). 

This new album features a more space rock/psychedelic style than Apex Ten’s first album, First Sessions. The jams are also tighter and more accomplished, as the trio’s cohesion has greatly strengthened after a few years of playing together.

A few things before we get to the music … Apex Ten is a big believer in improvisation, which is always a plus in my book. They say the music creates itself with each session, so, therefore, depending on the audience, the place, and the band’s state of mind, the music will be different each time.

Apex Ten also says you can recognize their music by their psych melodies and the use of the theremin and synthesizer. “The bass sounds like a loop machine and also integrates punk lines,” they say. “Along with the precise drum pattern, the guitar manages to get itself out of the track and flies out into space.”

Sounds awesome, right? Fans of Elder, Colour Haze, Electric Moon, and Daxma should eat this record up. Also, I spotted some heavy Tool vibes and hints of earlier-era King Buffalo. So, let’s get to the music.

The Songs

The journey starts with the first track, Awakening, highlighting those synth sounds we just spoke of at the beginning in a hypnotic looping pattern. While this is a heavy album, there are many very meditative sections. Awakening starts with one of those sections, and it has the bass playing that reminded me so much of Tool. Overall, this is an excellent starter to the album, especially as the song picks up the pace and gets to the heavier parts.

Unlock comes next, which comes at us fast from the get-go. The song is distinguished by the driving drum patterns that lay the foundation for so many tracks on the record. This one features some brief vocals, a rarity on the album. Like many songs, the tempo keeps pushing forward, and the sound keeps expanding and swelling, finally ending in an abrupt flourish. This track isn’t very long, but it’s played with the same relentless energy that the band showcases throughout the album.

Dazed is a bit longer, at just over six minutes. The bass tone on this one sounds almost exactly like something from Tool’s Lateralus, which I loved. The distorted sounds echoing throughout are also very cool. I also thought this was a song where you could very much identify the Elder influence. There’s a break in the action midway through the track as things quiet down but then slowly pick back up as the drums come in and build toward the finish.

Naga is a track where the Hindu sounds are used to full effect. Some of the more exotic instrumentation used on the record and in this song include a Tibetan bowl, a Güiro, and chimes. But I also noticed the synthesizer drone on this track, which is probably the spaciest song on the album. This is an excellent record to trip out to, and Naga is the song that will be your go-to for that. It is one of the most psychedelic and meditative songs on the album.

We return to stoner rock with the next track, Deaf Snake. It has a straight-up, killer, stoner riff and more monstrous bass playing. Brahma comes next, a shorter song but one that’s played with just as much stoner edge. Once again, the bass playing is excellent and, combined with the guitar, makes for amazing heavy psychedelia. There are some brief vocals on this one, too.

Godavari closes things out in a big way. At a little over 10 minutes, it’s the longest and most epic song on the album. It opens with heavy atmospherics and more of the Hindu vibe from the earlier track, Naga. And like Naga, this will be a go-to song to get stoned to for many of those who partake. Apex Ten is great at creating tension in their songs, which start slowly and then build up to massive crescendos. Godavari is another example of this – a piece that takes you on a trip through the cosmos and back again.

Final Thoughts

Apex Ten should be right up your alley if you like heavy psychedelic and stoner rock improvisations and jams. The band’s debut album, First Session, has reached 10,000 plays on YouTube and has been well-received and broadcast by the likes of 666MrDoom. Clearly, Apex Ten is on the radars of many in the heavy underground, and they are an act to watch.

I thoroughly enjoyed this new album, Aashray, and I’m excited to hear more about Apex Ten as they continue to hone their craft. If you like the album, check out their live record, Chem-Trails, which was recorded at the MPC Apache in Fontaine l’Evêque and released on April 20, 2022.

Support Apex Ten by finding them on Bandcamp or social media (Facebook, Instagram).

Check out more Third Eye content on Patreon!

Search for a Topic
Posted Recently

Would you like to contribute as a writer? Want us to cover your band’s latest music? Send us a message at 3rdeyepsych[at]

%d bloggers like this: