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Monsterworks - Black Swan Annihilation Award winner

Black Swan Annihilation
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 19 November 2016, 2:51 AM

MONSTERWORKS is a Progressive Thrash Metal band based out of London, U.K. Formed in 1996, this prolific act has released twelve full-length albums over the span of fifteen years. “Black Swan Annihilation” is their 13th, and contains seven tracks. “Immoralist” leads off the album, with a track that seems to really defy categorization. It’s a lumbering song bent on heaviness and depression. The vocals are harsh and varied in range. I do not hear Thrash Metal here at all. There is certainly a Progressive sound but the Doom elements seem to outweigh that. If BLACK SABBATH got angry and complex this might be some of what you would expect. “To Have Done What Must Be” starts off more pensive, allowing the bass guitar to carry some of the dreamy sound, but the might is still present here and there. It’s still very downtrodden however, like a month of endless rainy grey skies. I’ve often asked what draws people to depressing kind of music, but it’s easy…there is beauty in pain in an artistic sort of way.

“Unbridled Force Of Nature” comes at you more straightforward at first, with a hastened pace and chaotic nature. But the song has two sides. The second half gathers steam and hits emotional peaks that are unexpected and sublime. Then, there is the nine minute title track, “Black Swan Annihilation.” It’s difficult to put into words how unique this song is, and how many different sounds come from within. It is unlike anything I have heard in a while. It is both soul-bearing fury, and contemplative and withdrawn at the same time. Either way it hits you deeply and powerfully. The instrumental ending sure puts another stake in your heart…wow! “Vanishing Point” is another weighted track with fuzzy, drop-tuned guitars and gut wrenching vocals that attack you like a million pins and needles probing your exposed skin. The despondent elements on the album as a whole are very much alive here but again there is a warming white light at the same time that envelopes you and comforts you.

“Unbeheld” is acoustical bliss with low range vocals and harmonies that beseech your attention, in a way that watching a majestic rose slowly wilt in front of your eyes. It saddens you deeply to see it wither but you revel in the memory of the beauty of having seen such a thing in the first place. “Archivo Omnia” closes the album. Passages that punch you in your stomach intermix with ethereal passages that leave you with an ache. Living in the far recesses of your mind, it occupies that nook that fascinate the senses.

At first you might question an album with only seven tracks, but once you heard them all you will understand why this is a magic number. Because there is so much poured into each song, if there were any more on the album it could risk being watered down. But as it is, this is surely one of the most eclectic albums I have come across in a while. Steeped in diversity, there is something so purely alluring about music that reaches your soul, whether that be in a positive way or a negative way. It’s so deep and vast in character that each listener will have to decide for him/her self how it makes them feel, but you would have to be made of stone for this not to impact you personally.

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

4 Star Rating

1. Immortalist
2. To Have Done What Must Be
3. Unbridled Force Of Nature
4. Black Swan Annihilation
5. Vanishing Point
6. Unbeheld
7. Archivo Omnia
Jon – Vocals/Guitars
Hugo – Bass
James – Drums
Marcus – Lead Guitar
Record Label: Eat Lead And Die Records


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Edited 01 April 2023

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