The New Apocalypse
Band members Related acts
line up 1 (-65) as The Apocalypse
- Tony Capuano -- guitar
- Ozzie Hamilton -- drums, percussion
- Mike Meros (RIP 2007) -- keyboards
- John Shrob -- sax
line up ? (1968-71) as The New Apocalypse
- John Garrison -- bass
- Christopher Lynch -- organ (replaced Mike Meros)
- Dennis Meros -- drums (replaced Ozzie Hamilton)
- Gene Meros -- saxophone (replaced John Shrob)
- Greg Novik -- guitar (replaced Tony Capuano)
- Keith Vinroe -- trumpet
- The Fabulous Newports (Greg Novik)
- Flavor (Mike Meros)
- Phil Haynes and the Inner Circle (Mike Meros)
- Raven (Mike Meros)
- The Resumes (Greg Novik)
- Shelley's Emeralds (Gene Meros)
- Special Edition (Greg Novik)
Rating: 3 stars ***
Title: Stainless Soul
Country/State: Brooklyn Park, Maryland
Grade (cover/record): VG+/VG+
Catalog ID: SOLD 120
Price: SOLD $100.00
Hailing from the Baltimore suburb of Brooklyn Park, The Apocalypse came together in the early-1960s, making a name for themselves playing a mixture of jazz and more rock oriented instrumentals on the mid-Atlantic college and club circuit. By 1968 the band had gone through a series of personnel changes, musical realignments and a name change - the creatively updated The New Apocalypse Signed by the small Maryland-based ID label, they made their recording debut with a 1968 jazz-rock single:
- 'Junkshop' b/w 'Labyrinth' (ID catalog number 2614)
The single did nothing commercially and the band continued touring. By the time the band signed with the Decca affiliated MTA Records, the line-up featured bassist John Garrison, keyboardist Christopher Lynch (replacing Mike Meros), drummer Dennis Meros, sax player Gene Meros, guitarist Greg Novik, and trumpet player Keith Vinroe.
So before going on any further, a quick work of warning - if you don't want to be disappointed, ignore any of those high prices catalog listings that tag this one as being acid-tinged, or psychedelic. The most psychedelic thing on 1968's "Stainless Steel" were the negative photos found on the back cover. Produced by Bob Thompson (George Massenburg engineering), the album featured an all-instrumental set that found the band trying to find a niche for themselves amidst the public's growing indifference to Stax-styled soul; offset by rising interest in Chicago-styled horn rock. (Okay 'Get Outta' My Life Woman' included a brief vocal segment.) Judging by these ten instrumental tracks, these guys were clearly a talented band, capable of handling a wide array of genres. Unfortunately, the absence of vocals put them at a significant disadvantage versus the competition. Material like title track, '' and '' had a nice Stax-vibe, but by 1969 the collection must have already sounded dated. That's not meant as a criticism, rather just pointing out one of the reasons the album failed to sell and is now quite hard to find.
Soul" track listing:
1.) Stainless Steel (instrumental) (Gene Mero - Greg Novik) - 4:07
Judging by the slightly funky title track instrumental, these guys had been listening to more than their share of Booker T. & the MGs styled southern soul. If you liked the genre (and I'm a big fan), then the combination of Lynch's organ, Novik's guitar fills (which bore more than a passing resemblance to Steve Cropper's work) and the punchy horns made 'Stainless Steel' a pleasure, though by 1969 this must have already sounded dated. 'Course that didn't stop MTA from tapping the song as the second single.
- 1970's 'Stainless Steel' b/w 'Last Train To Liverpool' (MTA catalog number 185) rating: *** stars
2.) Domicela (instrumental) (Gene Mero - Greg Novik - 2:57
'Domicela' was a bluesy number that gave sax player Gene Meros a brief shot at the spotlight. A surprisingly enjoyable atmospheric ballad, it was actually one of my favorite performances. rating: *** stars
3.) Comin' Home Baby (instrumental) (B. Tucker - R. Dorough) - 4:09
Maybe it was Dennis Meros' Latin-tinged percussion, or Novik's lead guitar, but 'Comin' Home Baby' has always struck me as having a bit of Santana influence. I've also always liked the abrupt mid-song shift where the song suddenly lunged off in a much tougher, rock oriented direction. rating: *** stars
4.) Junkshop (instrumental) (Gene Mero - Greg Novik - B. Waterman) - 3:11
As mentioned above, 'Junkshop' had previously been released as their debut single. Imagine The Young-Holt Trio with a slightly funkier edge and you'd have a feel for what this one sounded like. rating: *** stars
5,) Wichita Lineman (instrumental) (Jimmy Webb) - 5:23
It took a couple of seconds for melody to kick in, but once it did, their version of Jimmy Webb's 'Wichita Lineman' was reduced to cocktail jazz status. That's a shame since the intro section was killer. Too bad they didn't keep down that track. You were left to wonder why MTA tapped it as the second single.
- 1970's 'Wichita Lineman' b/w 'Stainless Steel' (MTA catalog number 190) rating: ** stars
Yeah, I know it was meant to be hip and I'll readily admit that the opening 20 seconds was great, but 'Watch Your Step' has always sounded like a piece of throwaway music that you might have heard during a commercial break for the Dating Game. rating: ** stars
2.) Three Shades of Gray (instrumental) (Greg Novik) - 3:33
Putting a jazzy edge on Novik's guitar, 'Three Shades of Gray' was actually a pretty cool number. Once again, the unexpected shift in direction was quite nifty with Novik turning in his most impressive performance. rating: **** stars
3.) Get Outta' My Life Woman (Allen Toussaint) - 3:03
While it couldn't compete with Allen Toussaint original, or Albert King's classic version, these guys turned in a nice cover of 'Get Outta' My Life Woman'. Not sure who handled it, but there was even a brief vocal on this one. rating: *** stars
4.) Eleanor Rigby (instrumental) (John Lennon - Paul McCartney) - 3:54
The first part of their 'Eleanor Rigby' gave it a Young-Holt styled jazz-soul arrangement and then the horns went into full out jazz mode. It didn't last long and then it was back to the rote cover. rating: ** stars
5.) Labyrinth (instrumental) (Greg Novik) - 4:13
The 'B' side to their 1968 single, 'Labyrinth' was also the album's most jazz-rock-ish tune. Normally something like this wouldn't have done a great deal for me, but the twin tracked sax was actually quite impressive. Maybe it had something to do with the classical undertones throughout the Song? rating: **** stars
For what it's worth, the album's repeatedly been sampled ... Chuck D, Cypress Hill, and scores of other acts.
With the album vanishing into cutout bins, the band called it quits in 1971.
All of the Meros brothers turned their attention to sessions work, engineering and production.
Gene has a website at:
Mike suffered a fatal heart attack in December 2007. You can find some biographical material on him at:
Novak became an in-demand sessions player, before turning his attention to advertising. He eventually opened a restaurant in north Baltimore - Greg's Bagels.
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