Influence is a wonderful thing. From one flourish of guitar strings thriving worlds of music and culture are born. Within forty seven minutes and twenty seven seconds Discharge had spawned a beast of guttural riffs and destructive drumming, the genre that was to be named d-beat in their honour. As an oft coined cliché states, the star that shines twice as bright lives as half as long. After this none, not even Discharge themselves could make the same impact upon this hardbitten genre. That was until 1997 with His Hero is Gone's Monuments to Thieves.
To stress how important this release is to say that it managed to find balance within the seething cauldron of hate that formed this genre. D-beat is notoriously linear in its structure, the signature drum beat becoming a limiting factor upon the other instruments. The linearity forces d-beat bands into one of two places; sheer, hammering aggression like Disfear or the brutal shock tactics of Discharge and Skitsystem. In such a narrow genre it is so hard to find a crux point, the perfect balance of aggression and terror. Amidst all the rage though, His Hero is Gone found it.
They found this balancing point with the juxtaposition of melody and dissonance. Downtuned guitars, ferocious drums and snarling vocals spit unappealing hate. The level of this chaotic dissonance is great and it is because of this the instruments are allowed a relative freedom. No riffs or basslines are buried within a haze of drums, everything is allowed to breath. This can be attested to the excellent production, a superior quality to their debut release, and the precision in the song writing. Everything can be heard in crystal clarity but none of this is unappealing.
The surgical precision employed within the song writing is used to create strong melodies to hold the song together. These melodies are not captivating but what they are is balanced. They are paced, dragging the listener through textures of sludge and rusted metal. This pacing stops the melodies from overwhelming. However, because of it, it stops the songs falling into grindcore ridiculousness. The pacing instead allows for the instruments to interchange and flow within the tight time frames. Compacted within these short spans of time, the songs marry their melodies and dissonance to such a point that fear and aggression run alongside each other without clashing. No song is unmemorable but no song is unappealing either. The balance lends a twisted completeness to every song. A completeness that allows for each song to become little chaospheres that explode in the listener's headphones with intense shockwaves.
Many bands owe His Hero is Gone a great debt. Cursed's entire sound has a basis within His Hero is Gone's work and Disfear have taken riffs and song structures from this for their Live the Storm album. Suffice to say, this is not the end of their influence and probably never will be. This band will continue to be remembered in the future and Monuments to Thieves will be a testament to that legacy.