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Monobrow - The Nacarat Award winner

Monobrow
The Nacarat
by Ofer Mashiach at 28 August 2017, 8:23 AM

What was I thinking to myself when I decided to review an instrumental album? I must admit, I usually refrain from instrumental acts because more often than not I find them quite bland or boring. But I wonder whether the bug is in me, because after all music is primarily performed using instruments, so what difference does it make if there's a singer there? Well, I guess one usually finds it easier to identify with the music if there are lyrics that he can identify and sing along with. On the other hand, some frontmen have a tendency to steal the show in a way that bars the listener from paying heed to the various elements of the music. Luckily, that's not the case with Ottawa's MONOBROW. Their music speaks for itself and makes the singer completely unnecessary.

First and foremost, this album was a blind pick because everything on the chart of album for review bearing a Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal label grabs my attention. So I happened to take whatever my eyes rested on first. The name of the band was familiar but I couldn't remember what they were all about. The band formed in 2009, and with three LPs and one EP under their belt they dropped their fourth LP titled "The Nacarat" in April 2017. The funny part about this album is that even though it's instrumental it does have lyrics to go with it and tell a story, but they are not sung. This is a very interesting experience because you are not being fed lyrics that fit into any boxes of the music you are listening, but actually reading a story to music that conveys the matching spirit and mood.

Whereas many bands in the scene of this genre have a penchant for mantra-like riffs that go on endlessly, often with slight to no variation, MONOBROW boasts excellent songwriting, and theirs is a highly tasteful and psychedelic musical concoction that is diverse and noticeably progressive, with a nod to the Progressive and Acid Rock bands of the late 1960's and early 1970's (). The diversity of the music brings about changing moods and multiple flavors due to their close, but not bothersome, attention to details. The production is spot-on and the sound is pretty heavy but not too dense. Each track goes through various stages to form a rich composition filled with drama that is brought on by contrasting soothing and fierce sections. I really liked the drumming and the correct dosing of wah in the guitar solos. Even when things become boisterous they remain in full control.

I could go on and on in attempt to describe this album to no avail, but all I can do it is just give you some vague cues as to what it really feels like because no amount of words would convey the idea as good as listening to it. It is one of those "All-Killer-No Filler" albums that any fan of good music, metalhead or not, would appreciate. Favorite track: "Capes and Monocles."

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 10
Memorability: 9
Production: 10

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. The First Vague Rumblings of Impending Revolution
2. Capes and Monocles
3. We Can Make It Look Like an Accident
4. Twin Sheiks
5. The Decline of the West and Other Small Tragedies
Lineup:
Sam Beydoun – Bass
Brian Ahopelto – Drums
Paul Slater – Guitars
Record Label: Thrill Or Be Thrilled Records
     


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