The Ape of Naples

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The Ape of Naples
Studio album by
Released2 December 2005 (2005-12-02)
LabelThreshold House
Coil chronology
...And the Ambulance Died in His Arms
The Ape of Naples
The New Backwards

The Ape of Naples is the final studio album by English experimental group Coil. The album was the definitive effort of primary Coil musician Peter Christopherson, who compiled material from 1993 to 2004[2] to reassemble and rework it into a coherent final album. It was produced and released following the death of co-lead artist and lead vocalist John Balance, who died on November 13, 2004. The title of the album was originally intended to be Fire of the Mind.

Background and composition[edit]

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"),[3] 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."[3]

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."[3]

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.


Professional ratings
Review scores
AllMusic4.5/5 stars[4]

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".[6] 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".[4]

Track listing[edit]

CD pressing[edit]

1."Fire of the Mind"5:14
2."The Last Amethyst Deceiver"10:11
3."Tattooed Man"6:33
4."Triple Sun"3:46
5."It's in My Blood"4:51
6."I Don't Get It"5:35
7."Heaven's Blade"4:21
8."Cold Cell"4:08
9."Teenage Lightning 2005"7:11
10."Amber Rain"5:12
11."Going Up"8:30
Total length:65:32

Vinyl pressing[edit]

Side A
1."Fire of the Mind"5:14
2."The Last Amethyst Deceiver"10:11
3."Tattooed Man"6:33
Total length:21:58
Side C
1."Triple Sun"3:46
2."It's in My Blood"4:51
3."I Don't Get It"5:35
4."Heaven's Blade"4:21
5."Cold Cell"4:08
Total length:22:41
Side E
1."Teenage Lightning 2005"7:11
2."Amber Rain"5:12
3."Going Up"8:30
Total length:20:53

Limited edition copies came with a copy of The New Backwards as a fourth piece of vinyl.

The New Backwards, Side A
1."Careful What You Wish For"9:06
2."Nature Is a Language"8:00
3."Algerian Basses"5:02
Total length:22:08
The New Backwards, Side B
2."Paint Me as a Dead Soul"6:29
3."Princess Margaret's Man In The D'Jamalfna"8:46
Total length:22:04


  • Artwork, photography: Ian Johnstone
  • Hurdy-gurdy – Cliff Stapleton
  • Keyboards – Thighpaulsandra
  • Marimba – Tom Edwards
  • Orchestral stylings – Thighpaulsandra (track 5 & 6)
  • Performer, sequenced by, sound designer, producer – Peter Christopherson
  • Pipes, duduk – Mike York
  • Synthesizer – Ossian Brown
  • Vocals – Jhonn Balance (all), François Testory (track 11)
  • Written by, recorded by, producer – Coil (all), Danny Hyde (tracks: 1, 5 to 8, 10)


  1. ^ a b "Coil - The Ape of Naples - Heathen Harvest". Retrieved 8 July 2018.
  2. ^ "". Archived from the original on 30 December 2017. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  3. ^ a b c "Peter Christopherson: The Million Dollar Altar". Brainwashed. Retrieved September 17, 2018.
  4. ^ a b Mason, James. "The Ape of Naples – Coil | Songs, Reviews, Credits | AllMusic". AllMusic. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  5. ^ "Julian Cope Presents Head Heritage | Unsung | Reviews | Coil – The Ape of Naples". Head Heritage. 25 February 2010. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  6. ^ a b Murphy, Matthew (January 15, 2006). "Coil: The Ape of Naples Album Review | Pitchfork". Pitchfork. Retrieved 10 May 2018.
  7. ^ "Coil - The Ape of Naples". Stylus. 2005-12-19. Archived from the original on 2006-03-29.

External links[edit]

The Ape of Naples at Discogs (list of releases)