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Monuments – In Stasis

Monuments
In Stasis
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 13 April 2022, 11:09 AM

For UK Progressive Metal band MONUMENTS, more than a decade’s worth of touring, roster changes, and collaborating with the amazing talent within their scene has continually honed and elevated their game to new heights. On the band’s fourth studio album, “In Stasis”, the group brings together the best elements of this new chapter in their story while honouring many of the fixtures from their past. The follow-up to 2018’s “Phronesis”, the new record is also MONUMENTS’ first with lead vocalist Andy Cizek at the helm. The album contains ten tracks.

“No One Can Teach You” leads off the album. It begins with a slow fade-in followed by a crushing Djent riff. The vocals are clean and robotic like at first, then take on a more emotive quality, culminating in harsh screams. Bouncing to cleans in the chorus, this is a fairly predictable formula. “Lavos” is a shorter, faster, and more intense song that opens with more chaotic rhythms, followed again by clean vocals. The cleans might be the best part of the song because they are both melodic and poignant. “Cardinal Red” is a blast through both intense rhythmic patterns and all of the harmonies of clean vocals. This song perhaps encapsulates what MONUMENTS does as well as they do.

“Opiate” opens with furious brutality that is followed by clean vocals and melodic passages. The deadly fight between the two styles is what can invigorate the listener, and I daresay that album is getting better as it moves along. “Collapse” also begins with punishing tones in the opening that defer to more ambient ones later. This is the hallmark of the style, and the band does it with passion and energy, but this sound is just overly predictable at this point. “Arch Essence” is the first song with any real diversity. Thick and meaty bass notes open the song, with clean and easy vocals. Transitioning to harsh vocals in a thick soup of foul body parts with puke green dressing, the cleans are hard to remember. “Somnus” takes more advantage of the rapping cadence that can often come in the genre. I liken it to the temptation of biblical times…it calls you and begs you just to try it.

“False Providence” skips over the heavier entrance to allow more melody to shine. A bit more of this would go a long way for a more memorable listening experience. The weighted tones are of course omnipresent, because this is the flagship of their style. “Makeshift Harmony” goes back to the punishing entrance of previous tracks, with some flair of musicianship. The cleans are quite melodic while the harsh vocals are brutal and full of anger. “The Cimmerian” closes the album, at over eight minutes in length. It follows a typical formula for the style, with an equal push and pull between clean, emotive elements, and harsh, rougher elements. What sets it apart from the shorter songs is an extended ambient passage and a longer ending.

The trouble with Progressive Metalcore as a genre is that years ago, it was a budding genre with a new soundscape all its own. But now, in 2022, you had better find a way to step up your game and put some distance between your peers in the genre…some diversity, even experimentation, is arguably necessary. MONUMENTS shows glimpses of these on “In Stasis,” but just not enough. I always vacillate between hoping that I band that I like keeps their core sound, verses taking some real chances and going for broke with their own style. I just wish MONUMENTS did more of the latter on the new album.

Songwriting: 6
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 5
Production: 9

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. No One Can Teach You
2. Lavos
3. Cardinal Red
4. Opiate
5. Collapse
6. Arch Essence
7. Somnus
8. False Providence
9. Makeshift Harmony
10. The Cimmerian
Lineup:
Andy Cizek – Vocals
John Browne – Guitar
Adam Swan – Bass
Mike Malyan – Drums
Record Label: Century Media Records
     


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