Literally years in the making, leading UK Tech Metallers Monuments finally see all their efforts rewarded with their debut studio album, 'Gnosis'. Leaders without an album even released you ask? Well, yes! This band got some history and quite a story...
I first premiered their demo for the track 'Admit Defeat' back in April 2009 for a radio special on Total Rock I entitled 'The Djentlemans Lunchbox'. Guess what music I played on that show? All I knew was this project was some kind of reincarnation from the ashes from Fellsilent after Acle left to concentrate on TesseracT. The track was pretty kick ass and had a lot more going for it than the rest of the international tech scene who were too obsessed with the Djent sound.
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Later that year in Autumn I got to catch the band at Basick Records fifth birthday party. At that point the line-up wasn't even finalised. They were even acting as a backing band for Chimp Spanner with Paul Ortiz featuring in the band and a temporary second vocalist with Kaan from No Consequence.
Skip forward to January 2010 and the band tour with Winds Of Plague in the UK and mainland Europe with a limited edition hand made EP due to demand and perhaps a comfortable line-up until after Euroblast in October.
Original vocalist Greg Pope returned in time for the first League Of Extraordinary Djentleman (LXD) Tour with Periphery, TesseracT and The Safety Fire in February 2011, pushing out Kaan in a confusing situation and second guitar duties taken on by Cyclamen guitarist, Olly Steele.
Later in the year the confusing vocal situation continued with the departure of both vocalists, giving free time for bassist Adam Swan to continue with Chimp Spanner, band leader Browne to tour in the states playing in Periphery and drummer Mike Malyan to work with The Algorithm. The band again played Euroblast, this time as an instrumental outfit.
It's not been until May 2012 that the band has been able to move forward. It was announced that the band had signed to Century Media and brought in vocalist Matt Rose of The Qemists and the debut album was to follow.
So here we are, having been close to the band for the last few years, knowing the tracks well, having the demos and instrumentals, how does this finished album sound? Can they capture their live groove and presence?
Kicking off where it began with 'Admit Defeat', I was keen to hear this version having been so used to the demo. Well, it ain't bad! And actually that goes for the whole album.
I've had quite a few listens and I'm still adjusting to the new vocals, as they're quite different to before but positively encouraging. Matt's influences and experience differ to the Metal scene and although his style is very familiar to that of Spencer Sotelo of Periphery, it's pure coincidence.
By the time of '97% Static' if you're not quite settled with the vocals then Rose really stamps in his marque and worthiness of the position. The vocals slide well over the existing tracks and cohesively tie the tracks together.
Musically, this is the tightest band you will ever here and what you hear here is how they do it live. The chugs are insanely accurate with instant muting – no sustain here! This is complimented with the precision drumming of the Mighty Mike Malyan who is well on his way to becoming an international superstar of the drumming world.
'Empty Vessels That Make The Most Noise' is completely inspiring; the patterns and ghost taps tickle the ears whilst the switch in beats in the ending boggles the mind. How do you come up with that?!
'Doxa' has a thundering chug of guitar and drum basses right from the word go and present throughout. With my current speakers I can't quite tell if Gnosis is slightly over produced, such as the haunting clean jangles cutting through the grove, but not at a level that it is out of place – but I could be wrong!
Denial features the aforementioned Sotelo soaring over the growls of Rose ending fourty minutes of tech joy. Is fourty minutes in nine tracks considered a full-length album? I would say no but that doesn't mean you shouldn't spend your hard-earned wages. On the contrary, go forth and spend, see them on tour this Autumn on the Euroblast Tour this October and November throughout Europe. One day these musicians will be legends and you can say you were there at the start!