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Monobrow – A Decorative Piece of Time

Monobrow
A Decorative Piece of Time
by Jesse Lacharite at 17 November 2021, 11:06 PM

This week we will be looking at a band just down the road from me.  MONOBROW hail from Ottawa, Ontario and specialize in Doom, Stoner and Psychedelic inspired metal.  Lets give “A Delicate Piece of Time” a spin and see what the boys have been up to since 2017's “The Nacarat”.

Let's start as always, with the production.  It looks like the band were looking for a grittier production with this release, and for the most part it works.  There is an abundance of saturation, fuzz and bass spilling carelessly over everything.  The drums are thick and punchy.  Bass and guitar work nicely together, they don't compete, instead both work in tandem to achieve a very crusty rhythm section.  Everything here is pretty balanced, even though there is some mud and clarity issues in the low end it isn't significant enough to kill the music's presentation.  It's unruly and phat…enough said.

The first track is “Epoch”, a stripped down and lonely guitar, wailing into the emptiness.  I might have appreciated this one a little bit more if there was something to offset the simplicity of the idea, unfortunately, it was a swing and a miss for me.  Next up is “Argument”.

As the track fires up, we get a taste of what MONOBROW are all about.  This is along the lines of RUSSIAN CIRCLES or PELICAN even.  70's inspired hard rock done with modern sensibilities.  It isn't earth shattering or new, but MONOBROW do bring something to the table.

The first, is their use of dynamics.  The heavy/mellow combination of riffing really helps win over the listener.  The band are savvy enough to use relatively familiar musical elements and tropes to populate their music, whether it be a nod to SABBATH or a wink in CANDLEMASS' direction the end result is satisfying.  Both in “Argument” and “Ascension” there are some glorious moments of meatiness.  The band can get pretty nasty when called for and the simplicity subtly adds to the heaviness.

This brings us to the more psychedelic moments.  Now I personally like weird music.  I absolutely loved ENSLAVED's “Monumension” and there are several moments on this release “A Delicate Piece of Time” that mirror that coolness.  To make matters even more interesting,    I'm pretty sure I'm hearing a trumpet snuck into the mix.  Pulling a page from ISAHN's playbook never hurts, and it works in the context of the music.  There is a real flow to the album that isn't totally apparent after the first spin.  The band have done a masterful job of creating a diverse tapestry of rhythmic and melodic flavours.

“Drag” shows another dimension to the band and again, I find myself really enjoying this material.  The melodies are accessible, the breaks are heavy and shifts in tempo and atmosphere give this release breath.  There's a section around the 5-minute mark that is just so sick.  This is where I find the production works to the bands benefit, it takes heavy and grimy to a new level, perfection.

“Inclination” opens with more subdued tones before lurching forward.  Just when you think the band are going to reach for that ol' bag of tricks they deviate once more and lay a sweet, clean psychedelic buffet of tastiness.  It's yet another cool side trip that the band take before dropping that hammer…again!

The last track is “Eccentricity” and it, at least in my mind, is an homage to the mighty SABBATH.  Blues soaked riffs, crash wave after wave; driving the listener deeper into the spell of the music.  What's there not to like? another killer track.

MONOBROW have crafted an elegant musical statement that sees the band embracing it's strengths while minimizing their weaknesses.  Not having a singer can be a double-edged sword, but thankfully MONOBROW pull it off with relative ease.  There were moments when I was left wanting more virtuosity in this release, but those desires were left, for the most part, unrealized.  This is an excellent release that has a lot of replay value.  Definitely suggested for fans of Instrumental Prog, Traditional Metal, Hard Rock, Stoner, Doom and Sludge.

Songwriting:  8
Musicianship:  8
Memorability:  8
Production:  8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Epoch
2. Argument
3. Ascension
4. Drag
5. Inclination
6. Eccentricity
Lineup:
Sam Beydoun – Bass, Synths
Brian Ahopelto – Drums, Synths
Paul Slater – Guitars
Record Label: Independent
     


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