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Monsterworks - Scale and Probability

Scale and Probability
by Katharine Hassett at 30 April 2018, 5:27 AM

Born out of the mutual love for metal of two high school friends, MONSTERWORKS started taking its form in the early '90s in Wellington, New Zealand, where Jon and Jared met Ian at University, the three having a kindred respect for CANNIBAL CORPSE and QUEEN. The trio got to work in a community-based studio in Palmerston North, New Zealand to record their first track, "Cascading Past," which they would later re-record for their debut album. With their style evolving over time, Jon and Ian rebooted the band in London, UK with Hugo and James. Following the departure of Ian, the band started incorporating more orchestral elements, which is most notable in their spacey concept album, "Singularity," with Marcus taking over lead guitar duties. With an impressive catalog of 15 albums, the four-piece has been constantly evolving over time, and most recently went for a more basic approach in their blending of a wide array of different tastes.

"Scale of Probability" opens with a heart-wrenching, slow-burn, "The Great Silence," which very effectively sets the tone for the rest of the album. Easing in with dreamlike, layered guitars and organ, the track picks up with a melancholic solo and high pitched screams seething with raw emotion, evolving into a heavy assault at moments, but toning things back down again with clean vocals and guitar – a true roller coaster of emotions. "Weight of Emptiness," opens with droney, dissonant chords, a 4/4 belter that reminds one of MASTODON, even when it comes to the bellowy vocals. This tone instantly changes into something more bleak, with harmonized clean vocals for a brief period but soon builds up into a sinister beatdown, with double-bass drumming and a vocal layering of gutterals, and ending with a groovy chord progression and some tasty solo work.

"Cosmic Deadly Probe," possibly the heaviest song on the album, starts with some grindy drumming and fast paced screeching to keep up with it the brutal drum assault of James. The track ends with a proggy solo and fades out with an ambient drone. "The Reveal" starts with a slow tom build on drums, heading into a somewhat hardcore riff and then brings it back down again with a slow, layered guitar arrangement and harmonized vocals that definitely bring out the QUEEN influence. "All Truths Be True" contains melodic guitars just as beautiful as the vocals, swinging back and forth between that and depressing chord progressions. "Ockham's Razor" is a 12 minute soundscape that employs much of the same elements as the rest of the album, with a bit more thrashiness and harmonized solo work. It is easily the proggiest song on the album, jumping around from all sorts of moods and genres, including your standard prog rock, drone, doom and thrash. The album closes with more layered vocals and a very thrashy solo, slowly fading with the guitars and organs heard on the opening track.

While the quartet made it clear they were going to a more back-to-basics style with their sound, I had a lot of trouble getting through some of the tracks on this album, as it did not bring much new to the table for the progressive genre. Although, I will say that the level of bleakness and raw emotion did at times leave me teary eyed.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 6
Memorability: 6
Production: 9

3 Star Rating

1. The Great Silence
2. Weight of Emptiness
3. Cosmic Deadly Probe
4. The Reveal
5. All Truths Be Told
6. Ockham's Razor
Hugo - Bass
James - Drums
Jon - Vocals, Guitars
Marcus - Lead Guitars
Record Label: Eat Lead And Die Music


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