Monkey3
The 5th Sun


4.0
excellent

Review

by Raul Stanciu STAFF
October 25th, 2013 | 60 replies


Release Date: 10/25/2013 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Am I flying too high, Daedalus?

These silent Swiss rockers have become a psychedelic stoner staple on the European scene in less than a decade by releasing a string of lovely crafted records and touring with the best acts in the genre. Sharing a similar vision to fellow labelmates, My Sleeping Karma and rising as fast as them, Monkey3 have found a perfect balance between the heavy, guitar-centered sound and moody, ambient soundscapes. This way, it all comes down to dynamics and nuances that constantly warp the main ideas. Moreover, keeping things as simple and direct as possible most of the times, means there's little overcrowding, therefore, the music is easy to digest.

The 5th Sun follows the footsteps of its predecessor, Beyond The Black Sky, but with an upgrade in delivery and a heavier musical shade, perfectly representing the dark undertone the title portrays. With a more progressive approach, these songs create entities of their own through the band's excellent songwriting abilities and flawless execution. The first two ones in particular, 'Icarus' and 'Suns', which make up almost half of the record's length, are essential Monkey3. Slowly taking off with an erratic soundscape, the former is everything one needs to hear from the band: staggering riffs laid over epic synthesizers that keep growing until they reach massive heights and power. Even at over 14 minutes long, 'Icarus' flows extremely well, becoming one of the most ambitious track in their catalog so far. 'Suns', on the other hand, starts as pseudo-post-rock, with melodic riffs and faint, atmospheric keyboards, before morphing into noisy, organ-led, stoner metal. As dynamic as anything put out on previous records, these two cuts beautifully showcase how much you can do with less (in this case, with clear, often basic structures).

Diving further, the brooding 'Birth Of Venus' or the somber 'Pintao' offer some of the hardest hitting moments within conventional lengths. Psychotic synths constantly enrich the canvas, both featuring some leads Rammstein would be pleased of. Monkey3 can be as expansive and effective as needed whether they take 4 or 14 minutes to express their ideas. These cuts also show how versatile these guys can be while still lounging in their own comfort zone.

Even if The 5th Sun is a strong release, it works best when revisited every once in a while. It's not an album to obsess over, simply because it loses its impact on the listener when put on repeat. This is not a negative aspect, it's the case of many groups in the genre (Karma To Burn, My Sleeping Karma, etc.). Definitely an amazing live act, Monkey3 are one of the fewer bands who have managed to transpose their energy and power on tape. The riffs are easy to digest for newcomers yet highly entertaining for the fans and as a result, this record might be their most accomplished material to date.



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user ratings (19)
Chart.
3.9
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
October 25th 2013


3404 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

It's an awesome record from a very professional band, but repeated listens in a row will diminish its impact.

Stream here - http://shop.napalmrecords.com/monkey3

Digging: The Asteroid No. 4 - The Asteroid 4

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
October 25th 2013


19759 Comments


we both have 97 reviews ;)

I need to get into this genre more. Nice review as always

Digging: Spectral Lore - III

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
October 25th 2013


3404 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks. Unfortunately, I have 97 reviews written in 6 years lol, I'm too lazy. Also, I need to change things up a bit, I feel stuck in a rut.

I wasn't really a psychedelic/stoner fan until a couple of years ago. Once you discover some bands that get under your skin, you'll inevitably dig for others (this happened to me). Monkey3 and My Sleeping Karma are great bands to dig into, but in the end they're quite monotone (especially My Sleeping Karma). They have some really cool songs, however, their sound hasn't changed almost at all in a decade. Still, they are a great gateway into the genre.

Mad.
October 25th 2013


3844 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Excellent review, as always.

Album is solid but doesn't touch Beyond the Black Sky, I dunno why you don't like that as much :/

Atari, you have to listen to this because your avatar has 2 members of the band in it


Atari
Contributing Reviewer
October 25th 2013


19759 Comments


Lol. I'll try to remember to check them out this weekend.

@insomniac, damn guess i didn't realize you'd been around here for 5 years. I share your feelings of being stuck in a rut though...been feeling that way since I slowed down with my writing.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
October 25th 2013


3404 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks. I don't know why, but Beyond The Black Sky wasn't that catchy for me. Only a few songs were really memorable. I could ask you the same about 5th Sun lol.

Btw, I started listening to Hawkwind, In Search Of Space is really cool. There are some sick bass lines and you can really hear the influence they had on so many bands in the genre.

@Atari - I feel the same, if you do this often, you're on a roll. Sometimes I feel my reviews are written by a robot. I need to change the structure and be more personal.

Atari
Contributing Reviewer
October 25th 2013


19759 Comments


well you can always try something a little different for your 100th review ;) that's what i'm gonna do. Also don't be hard on yourself, I'm guessing all writers (even the best ones) feel that way sometimes

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
October 25th 2013


3404 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah, I'll work on that. In the past two months I haven't had much time to check out many reviews written by staff members and other contributors. That helped a lot in the past year.

Ecnalzen
October 25th 2013


6537 Comments


"Monkey3 are an instrumental psychedelic/stoner-rock band..."

I want to be all up in this based off of this statement in their profile page.

Mad.
October 25th 2013


3844 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@Insomniac Hawkwind only get better from that record, until their late 80s, then skip everything till the most recent two
You Shouldn't Do That is defo transcendent though

My rating for this is the same as yours, but I'd say the songs on here lack some of the brilliant riffage of BTBS, the post-rock style is great though, but it doesn't give me as much feels man

Shuyin
October 25th 2013


11649 Comments


awesome band, everything they've put out before is solid as hell so im pretty sure this album rules hard too

Digging: Cannibal Corpse - A Skeletal Domain

CaptainDooRight
October 25th 2013


29149 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

3/5 decent album, I love the genre tho but I've heard better

Great review tho pos

Digging: Kangding Ray - Solens Arc

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
October 26th 2013


3404 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Thanks Captain. They are really good, but yeah, other bands are more experimental and that helps on the overall sound.

@Mad - They have a massive catalog. I'll get the others chronologically. Regarding Monkey3, I understand you, I'm more into post-rock and that's why I found this more intriguing. Nevertheless, I hope I get to catch them live, because I heard they sound as good as on tape.

Ecnalzen
October 26th 2013


6537 Comments


I think I like this.

I think I like this a lot.

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
October 26th 2013


3404 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

That's great man. You can check out those recommendations too (especially My Sleeping Karma for a similar affair).

CK
October 26th 2013


4917 Comments


Nice summary

RadicalEd
October 26th 2013


2656 Comments


Just streamed Icarus. Daaaaam. Post rock with major stoner influences. I can dig that.

Digging: Perfume Genius - Too Bright

insomniac15
Staff Reviewer
October 26th 2013


3404 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

@CK - Yeah, I worked a lot on that. If you have any suggestion, I'll use it.

Mad.
October 26th 2013


3844 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

"The Monkey Takes Flight"? I dunno, something along those lines

I like the sneaky addition of your own band into the recommendations section, Enter The Void is awesome man

conesmoke
October 26th 2013


5217 Comments


Cool review. Checked out Icarus. Not really my thing but there were some cool moments. I dug the real dirty ambient bit.



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