Review Summary: If you can get past the awful lyrics that contaminate this album, you will probably enjoy it thoroughly. It's a good headbanger.
As a frequent attendee of metal/hardcore shows, I can safely say I feel right at home standing in front of, behind or in the pit. Whether I'm just observing, moshing or getting in the bands face, I'v always felt an odd sense of comfort in such circumstances. However, the first time I saw Chicago's very own "Monsters", my heart dropped and I felt a little intimidated. The singers pissed off appearance and behavior inspired a likewise reaction from the crowd. While slightly scared, I was also extremely aroused by their mentality and presence. Having never heard them before, I instantly went and listened to their EP and was satisfied that I found a new heavy band to listen to. Well now their full length album is out and sure enough I was more than ready to see how they had progressed with their sound. So were they able to match my enthusiasm with a remarkable, skull crushing album?
Well unfortunately theres no yes or no answer. This album has it's ups and downs and I learned quite quickly that I wasn't quite going to listen to the metal album of the year when I popped it in my disc tray, but rather another slightly above average effort by another band that has the ability to do so much more. This album is nonstop all the way through and the relentless drumming keeps your heart rate up there as it intends to do. The guitar work is mostly chugging especially from the rhythm player. The lead however does offer a good variation of interesting and almost ambient guitar tones that create a dark vibe in their music, and nothing could be more fitting.
The vocals are mainly low pitched growls and screams that convey the intended emotion of anger. While there is little variation they are certainly intense and evoke an inner rage inside listeners. The lyrics however leave a lot to be desired and are the major underlining fault on this effort. They are rather juvenile throughout the bulk of this album and the meaning of whatever point they are trying to make gets lost in the unnecessary forced rhymes. Lines such as:
"Shaken on the floor, left here from war
I said I wish I had time to redo the score
My fists were
Clenched I tried to jump the fence
Ask myself if the
Bullet know the difference"
just sound so bad when spoken out loud that it seems like they are just writing the first thing that comes to their mind and maybe making minimal tweeks here and there. Another potential plague on this album is the rapped lyrics. While most will detest the use of such a vocal style in this particular genre of music, I find it rather intriguing. It isn't very abundant yet adds a small amount of what would've been entirely absent variation. Since everybody is now going to relate them to Emmure, let me tell you why what Monsters is doing is NOT the same thing. Emmure mutters off completely mind-numbing lyrics with no possible meaning that anyone besides the band themselves could actually possibly care about. Monsters however are at least making an effort to be taken seriously (for the most part) even in the rapping portions of their songs.
Overall, this album is relentlessly heavy, hateful and angry. While they aren't breaking grounds in the music industry they get their point across...they're pissed. For me, it's a good listen every once and a while when I'm looking to bang my head till my brain is tenderized. So if you like breakdowns, rage, and more breakdowns, you will most likely enjoy this album for what it is because it is exactly that, yet respectably leagues beyond a lot of other contending bands in the genre because they don't copy the same recycled sound verbatim that so many other bands gravitate toward these days.