Monuments
Phronesis


3.5
great

Review

by Robert Garland CONTRIBUTOR (263 Reviews)
October 10th, 2018 | 92 replies


Release Date: 2018 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Enter Monuments’ most streamlined and rounded record of their career.


After turning heads with a debut that brought all the nuances of melodic metal and djent together it was no wonder that Monuments gained the initial momentum that catapulted the band to the top of the scene alongside the likes of Tesseract and Periphery. Gnosis however, wasn’t without its share of flaws. There was a turmoil drawn from a lack of cohesion, founded simply by a whirlwind of roster changes. But Gnosis surpassed the hype, balancing melody and harmony with polyrhythmic intensity and high octane aggression without overbearing on the design of their music. Rather the band’s execution lacked the finesse to completely pull it off. The group’s sophomore picked up where the first left off. A tumultuous display jagged riffs punching through layers of progressive rock adding to the already robust, commanding sounds so eagerly presented in the debut.

Phronesis however shows a band hitting their stride. It’s not spectacular, but the quality sure is getting there. Monuments have condensed, simplifying their soundscape into something more than a confirmation of trend hype. Monuments’ 2018 record sounds sweeter, hits harder and (more importantly) sounds like a cohesive slab of progressive metal that leans towards the very essence of metalcore. This time songwriting is on the forefront, rather than the musicianship.

Phronesis starts off in a rather typical fashion, a show of force from one of the album’s pre-release singles. “A.W.O.L” is a groove powerhouse, exemplifying vocalist Chris Barretto’s melodic cleans and jagged, snapping screams. It’s a formulaic approach that defines the rest of the album. No single part overhears the next, blending itself into the mix. Rest assured that Monuments haven’t lost the essence of their djent-y edge. The following two tracks both replicate the fervent energy of the debut, before leading back into a hook driven, chorus built “Mirror Image” and whether you’re into the abrasively joyous “Stygian Blue” or the monumentally pissed of “Leviathan” fans both new and old can appreciate the “best of both worlds” approach Monuments have taken with their newest offering.

Despite just how Monuments have expanded on their melody and stripped back on their world of djent there’s still something holding Phronesis back from unrivalled greatness. The guitarists are still abusing the low end of the musical register and vocalist Chris Barretto falls victim to overbearing cleans. They’re minor flaws, and admittedly their bearing on the record is in atmosphere and mood without directly flawing the tracks they’re on. Retrospectively, Barretto’s vocal phrasing has never been better. “Mirror Image”, “Celeste” and “Jukai” all reinforce the man’s talent as a lyricist by creating infectious syncopation, coupled with intelligent ever present chorus crescendo. What can easily be dismissed as a ‘dumbing’ down of an original sound starts to appeal more with every repeated listen.

Overall there’s a lot to be taken away from this djent-now-metalcore album. With a foot on either side of the musical doorway, Monuments are making steady progress towards being that “all important” progressive act. Accessibility isn’t a negative as far as Phronesis is concerned. Factually, there’s as much missing Monuments’ latest release as there is to take away from it. Phronesis is cohesive, focused and together enough to bring both new and old fans alike, even if it’s for different reasons.



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user ratings (86)
Chart.
3.2
good

Comments:Add a Comment 
NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
October 10th 2018


9126 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Literally a 3.3/5



Toondude10
October 10th 2018


13468 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

more like a 3/5 tbh

Digging: Lovebites - Clockwork Immortality

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
October 10th 2018


9126 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Lies lol, how are you my man

Toondude10
October 10th 2018


13468 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0 | Sound Off

I'm doing good



yeah I honestly think this is their weakest album to date. reeeeeealy don't like the cleans on here, sounds like he had a cold while recording. such a shame too considering how good their last album was

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
October 10th 2018


9126 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

reeeeeealy don't like the cleans on here,




Disagree here, the cleans are pretty decent, melodic and on point but fuck me are they overused.

Asura14
October 10th 2018


127 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The cleans are on point, those MJ influences are actually dope.



Not as good as The Amanuensis imo but thoroughly enjoyable... The quality of the lyrics seems to have dropped unfortunately

Digging: J.I.D - DiCaprio 2

JAV
October 10th 2018


3013 Comments


Is there a stream anywhere?

NonApplicable
October 10th 2018


2661 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I was incredibly underwhelmed by this on first listen. I'm starting to really enjoy it after repeat spins but I know I'm impartial to their sound. If I'm being critical, Monuments didn't nail their more accessible change in direction on this release. I suspect they will on their next album.



Chris in particular needs to step up. He's only on point about 60% of the time. I found quite a few of his vocal lines sounded like he was on autopilot or that the melodies didn't mesh well with the instrumentation. At times it sounded like he shoved in unrelated melodies that he wrote acapella.

cloakanddagger
October 10th 2018


309 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I'm trying to give the band the benefit of the doubt and say this album is probably not as good as it should be because Chris has had to endure a lot of personal problems, including vocal nodes, in the past 4 years or so, and they've barely performed or even rehearsed (it seems) since they finished an incredibly intensive tour of their last album back at the end of 2015.

That being said, it's still a pretty good record, but I'm hoping they'll step back up to the standard of The Amanuensis on LP number 4.

Good review, pretty much sums up everything I feel about this.

TundraL5Z
October 10th 2018


2046 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Pretty damn good, riffs go IN here and are definitely the high light of the record, also drumming is on point

GetLow
October 10th 2018


3578 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

The lyrics are awful; the singing itself is good, but could be better; the music grooves as always.

bloc
October 10th 2018


53446 Comments


This reminds me of Periphery - P3 in terms of the lyrics i.e. they were terrible. Super fun album, definitely their best imo lol

Digging: The Presets - Hi Viz

Nomos2
October 10th 2018


110 Comments


Yeah this is about as 3.5 as you can get. Terrible lyrics, occasional missteps, but nonetheless fun. Will probably enjoy it even more over time. Glad they're back.

TheNotrap
October 10th 2018


9433 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Enjoyable reading.



I'm enjoying the album, I've never been much of a fan of the djenty core sound, but these guys are good, especially the singer.



Mirror Image has a super chorus.



Digging: Sulphur Aeon - The Scythe Of Cosmic Chaos

Hopelust
October 10th 2018


3269 Comments


Lyrics are cringey, yea. So hard to look past them when I feel like I'm listening to the plights of a 3rd grader.

LunaticSoul
October 10th 2018


1070 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I honestly thought they would have gone way more melodical on this



unfortunately instead they turned up a notch the core side, which is anacronistically odd



gonna be fun live but boy this is a step back

Curupira22
October 10th 2018


5 Comments


The lyrics are a bit more than cringy in places and while musically you could look beyond certain faux pas, with such prominent cleans it is so hard to hide the lyrical inadequacies. And it hurts saying all of that because I genuinely think Monuments' sound is an excellent balance of groove, technical and hook-rich metal. (Note I didn't say djent, thall or... Mike-thall Djentson. I feel dirty even writing that last one).

For me, the Amanusensis will keep getting spins long after I'm bored of most of this album.

NocteDominum
Contributing Reviewer
October 10th 2018


9126 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

For me, the Amanusensis will keep getting spins long after I'm bored of most of this album.




Amanuensis should be getting spins regardless, I do feel that Phronesis is consistently better across the board.





Thank thee mod bots for the feat. Unexpected, but thankful all the same

bloc
October 10th 2018


53446 Comments


https://youtu.be/HvJVJfuQi6o?t=12

Looks like they weren't kidding

SteakByrnes
October 10th 2018


13894 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

Nice review, this album is solid but a step down from the last

Digging: The Parallel (CAN) - Weaver



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