The Ape of Naples is the final studio album by English experimental act Coil. The album compiles material from 1993 to 2004 assembled and reworked in 2005 by primary Coil musician Peter Christopherson. It was released following the death of lead vocalist John Balance, who died on 13 November 2004. The title of the album was originally intended to be Fire of the Mind.
The Ape of Naples is composed of reworked material that Coil had created in varying forms since the inception of Backwards, their aborted Nothing Records album (created during a period that Christopherson dubbed "the New Orleans era"), as well as songs that were previously only played live in improvisational form on the mini-tours Coil undertook in the early 2000s. "The Last Amethyst Deceiver" is the "final version" of "Amethyst Deceivers", which began when it was originally released on Autumn Equinox: Amethyst Deceivers, "It's In My Blood" was performed under the original name of "A.Y.O.R.", and "Going Up", the last song on the album, samples Balance's vocals spoken on stage live from Coil's final performance at the Dublin Electronic Arts Festival in 2004: Christopherson remarked that Coil's performance of Going Up at the festival was "the one and only time Jhonn thought of and sang those words... His own epitaph if you like."
Christopherson created the album with awareness of his own grief after Balance's death in November 2004; with the material he reworked taking on new meanings that he saw throughout the album's production, he felt he didn't "think [he] could have done it any better, so in that sense [he felt] fulfilled, and [was] sure Jhonn would feel so, too."
Songs from the New Orleans era which HAD not seemed to have "found their time" suddenly took on a completely new aspect, because of Jhonn's death. Miraculously, they changed, morphed, in front of my eyes, and I had numerous "oh my god—THAT's what that's about" revelatory moments. I imagine everyone does, listening to the album knowing what happened, in a way.
The Ape of Naples was well-received by music critics. Pitchfork reviewer Matthew Murphy gave the album a rating of 7.9/10 and described it as "a remarkably unified work, its every meditative gesture alloyed with a looming, unmistakable sense of impending loss and/or transition".AllMusic reviewer James Mason described it as "one of Coil's best albums and one of the best albums of 2005" and described listening to the album as "a bittersweet experience".