Review Summary: Millennium is a masterful accomplishment from the technical death outfit, that more than outdoes their first album.Monstrosity - Millenium
The Guilty Party
Monstrosity are a technical death metal band hailing from Florida. They were formed in 1990 by George Fisher, later of Cannibal Corpse fame, and drummer Lee Harrison. They were then joined by guitarist Jon Rubin and bassist Mark Van Erp. The band achieved a little success and critical acclaim with the release of their first studio album, entitled Imperial Doom. Critics praised their dense sound that involved lots of complex riffing and creative drum patterns and the energetic vocal patterns of George Fisher. Not many bands could hope to release a debut album that sounded as complete as that particular one. The band makes good use of quick jumps between tremolo picking and hyper-fast power chord based riffing and the occasional pinch harmonic scattered throughout. The drumming is a mixture of thrash beats and blast beats with some neat fills thrown in for added effect, whilst the bass mainly follows the guitar's schizophrenic nature. George's vocals are delivered in a rapid fire manner and also use the high pitched lengthy screams that he would abuse on his Cannibal Corpse material. He utilizes the ridiculously low pitches he was hitting on Cannibal Corpse's first few albums that featured him, and this could not be better suited to any band than Monstrosity. This mixture of members of the band each with high degrees of technical proficiency would form the base for their finest accomplishment, Millennium.
What Was Good About Millennium
Millennium was released in August 1996 on the Nuclear Blast label. This is an album that not only retains the insanely technical nature of their previous album but eclipses it with some even quicker riffing and more diverse styles of playing. The songs are structured considerably better with the constant changes of riff ensuring that the songs are evolving incessantly. One of the most incredible things about this release was that the guitar work was only crafted by one guitarist instead of the two that is considered the norm for extreme music. Jason Morgan handles the guitars on Millennium and he does so with some real talent behind it. His solos are absolutely incredible and feature a good mixture of techniques including sweeping and the incredibly fast shredding that bands such as Suffocation use. The riffing here jumps between chords and single note picking with a lot of gusto and this is a band that can even make the most generic of tremolo picked lines sound interesting due to an incredible production job that ensures the guitars sound as crisp and aggressive as possible. The drumming is as varied as one could ask, with the slower paced Fragments Of Resolution showing off a great amount of creativity that shows even the slowest moments of a death metal album can be kept interesting. The vocals are the gut-churning roar that George Fisher has become known for over the years. He delivers every vocal line with as much conviction as could be asked for, throwing forth lines of pure evil with savage and evil-sounding tones. Each member of the band is on top of their game here, delivering an incredible experience. The album grabs you by the throat from the opening moments and does not let go all the way through. The introduction to Fatal Millenium should say all that needs to be said about this release. The drums jump between thrash beats and blast beats seamlessly whilst the guitars are written perfectly, weaving in and out of the drum patterns. This is not an album that should be taken lightly.
What Was Not So Good About Millennium
The one thing that irks me about this album is that the bass is not as loud in the mix as it should have been. It is still audible but not as loud as it was on their debut. The bassist puts in a phenomenal performance that deserves more than to just be there buried in the wall of sound the rest of the band creates. Another criticism that could be leveled at this album is that George Fisher mainly sticks to the same high note and the same low note with every scream. Whilst this acts as a positive in that it gives the band an angry voice, it also detracts the sense of variety and wonder that is garnered from hearing the instrumental performance from the rest of the band.
Overall, Millennium is an album that anyone who is a fan of technical death metal that recalls an old-school vibe should check out. It packs one hell of a punch with the interesting nature of its riff work and has more than enough variety in it to keep you interested.