Style: Djent
Release date: 27 August, 2012
Playing time: 45:08

I love the “d” word period, and really enjoy that style of music a lot. Some people define that single simple word as one of the many plagues roaming our blue planet, and I wouldn’t disagree, if I was referring to the school of dance music. But as you should know by now, your eyes are aiming at ‘Power of Metal’, so if I like dancing and sure I do, then it only happens in the middle of a mosh pit in the front rows of a stage, ripped into pieces by the performance of the legendary "Meshuggah".

“Djent” is the magical word, so have you ever heard of “Fellsilent”? They were one of the pioneers, influenced by “Textures” & “Meshuggah”, of this well-defined subgenre of progressive metal, centered in the technical experimental metal scene in UK. It has spawned two phenomenal guitarists from its ashes, Acle Kahney (mostly known for his instrumental duties in “TesseracT”, and mixing and mastering of the debut release by “Stealing Axion”) and John Browne…

After the painful breakup with his beloved band “Fellsilent”, Mr. Browne has wiped of the tears on his face, and become a hard working musician as a composer, producer and as a guest guitarist tearing up the roads in the US with “Periphery”. Even though he got the chance to become a permanent member of “Periphery”, he decided to return to his homeland, and persuade his own dream of creating a gigantic monster to conquer the prog scenes around the world. So from his basement in London, a monster by the name of “MONUMENTS” was crafted and awoken with the support from bassist Adam Swan, guitarist Olly Steele (Cyclamen) and drummer Mike Mylan (“The Algorithm”, “Chimpspanner” and too many to name here). Without a clear voice and face, this monster would becoming a walking death, so frontman Matt Rose stepped in to assume the vocal duties from the previous singer Neema Askari, and has proven that he was the right pick.

This is the debut album entitled ‘Gnosis’, a result of blood, toil, tears and sweat and finally unleashed to our full enjoyment. From its very first spin of the 45 minutes playing time through ten tracks, it’s a pure bad-ass slapping groovy music experience haunted with mesmerizing hooks. The opening track, and one of the many highlights found on this release is ‘Admit Defeat’. It’s a beautiful mix of atmospheric sections surrounded by a heavy and groovy package of guitar riffs. You will be finding yourself headbanging to the very recognisable metallic djent sound, heavily influenced by the likes of “Animal as Leaders”, ‘TesseracT’ and the latest groovy epos from “Meshuggah”. The world-class face slapping performance by Adam Swan on his bass is clear, powerful and dynamic without being too overdone and dominating in the landscape. Frontman Matt is also a perfect asset added to the group, complementing the melodic passages with his clean singing style, and the heavier parts as well with his use of harsh screams and very deep growls. Even though Matt is doing an excellent job, I would have preferred the vocals by his fellow compatriot Daniel Tompkins (ex-“TesseracT”) with his controlled high register tones and screams. On the other hand, guitarists John Browne and Olly are both delivering a powerhouse of crunchy, hard hitting, complex and exaggerated groovy guitar riffs on their low tuned stringed weapons. The vibe of the massive groovy melodic sound is haunting throughout the whole album, and most of the songs are flowing seamlessly into one another, creating a monotonous listening experience at times. A few exceptions are however found amongst the ten songs, including the opening song ‘Admit Defeat’, song number nine ‘Regenerate’, and the closing song ‘Denial’ featuring Spencer Sotelo on guest vocals in a duet with Matt, all three songs giving a much needed breath of fresh air. The production itself has an almost flawless mix and mastering, with a heavy solid sound added to it. It’s all delivered with a crystal clear tone in the multiple layers floating through the music landscapes, bringing life to every single detail and instrument.

The quintet has constructed a new gigantic ‘monument’ of extraordinary size and power, to stand out among the other progressive metal acts out there, bringing something very unique and a refreshing sound to the already overpopulated “djent” scene. It’s a huge structure of epic proportions, reaching up to the skies, making it an iconic landmark across the landscape of progressive metal, and one of this world’s greatest accomplishments in 2012.

Everyone has their vision of what the ultimate “cup of coffee” looks, smells and tastes like, but if you like me, have a mind that is triggered by the “d” word and its polyrhythmic flavours of Meshuggah, then look no further, and grab this release without any second thoughts. It will be a mind-blowing progressive and groovy metal experience. It’s very delicious indeed…

01. Admit Defeat (4:13)
02. Degenerate (4:12)
03. Doxa (4:32)
04. The Uncollective (3:57)
05. Blue Sky Thinking (5:13)
06. Memoirs (3:54)
07. 97% Static (4:30)
08. Empty Vessels Make The Most Noise (3:46)
09. Regenerate (5:35)
10. Denial (5:15)
Label: Century Media
Distribution: EMI (Denmark)
Artwork rating: 90/100
Reviewed by: Tommy Skøtt
Date: 15 October, 2012