Review Summary: Raw and powerful.
Tumultuous doesn’t even come close to describing the past few years for English progressive metal band Monuments. The brainchild of Jon Browne, former guitarist of Fellsilent (which also spawned Tesseract guitarist Acle Kahney), Monuments has gone through a multitude of line up changes, including losing a couple of vocalists before settling down for long enough to record their debut Gnosis
after years of trying. The result, though, is more than worth the wait.
is monolithic. The mechanical, jarring nature of the guitar work clearly pays homage to metal titans Meshuggah, however the riffs found on Gnosis
are more dynamic and interesting than anything the aforementioned has released in years. Add to that Matt Rose’s phenomenal, yet very raw vocals and the product is something to behold. It’s rare for an album to immediately grab me as Gnosis
has. In fact, there are very, very few albums that have done so.
‘Admit Defeat’s cleanly picked intro quickly descends into distorted chaos, displaying an intensity only very few bands are capable of. Similarly, ‘Degenerate’ is quite possibly the angriest track you’ll hear this year, expressing complete and utter disgust at the state of the human race. The majority of the album keeps a similar formula, with explosions of distortion coupled with sporadically picked clean guitar being the main recipe. Thus, Rose’s vocals are the main source of variation throughout, doing more than enough to keep the listener interested.
At only nine tracks/40 minutes long, Gnosis
never outstays its welcome. In fact, you’ll probably find yourself going back for a second listen very quickly. Take ‘Blue Sky Thinking’ for example; Rose commands your attention by alternating between cleans and screams through slightly off kilter vocal melodies that only add to the album’s intrigue. The result is one of the best songs to be released this year. Elsewhere, ‘Doxa’s pummelling drum fills do battle with Rose’s expansive vocal range for one of the more impressive moments on the album.
Fuelling comparisons with their American counterparts Periphery, Rose and Spencer Sotelo (Periphery vocalist) join forces on final track ‘Denial’ in a duel vocal assault, proving to be more than enough to make any djent fan boy wet their pants in excitement. Sotelo’s higher register provides a welcome contrast to Rose’s more gravelly voice, giving rise to a touch more melody compared to the previous eight tracks.
Despite the turmoil the band has been through, the result is completely and utterly worth it. Monuments have released what is an excellent debut and the perfect base to build on as they grow as a band. Yes, it's raw and somewhat straightforward in terms of songwriting, but that is a huge drawcard. Gnosis
is sure to be one of the metal albums of 2012.