Thus far, the United Kingdom has witnessed the birth of a fair sleuth of bands that follow the modern progressive metal genre, such as Tesseract
. Speaking of Fellsilent
, that is where metallic outfit Monuments
comes in. Taking form in 2010, the quintet constructed itself of members of Cyclamen
, Chimp Spanner, and the now deceased Fellsilent
. On the same year the band was created, they released their debut three-track EP entitled ‚ÄúWe Are the Foundation
,‚ÄĚ which managed to reel in a fair amount of attention from newcomers. Sadly, the departure of the dual vocalists, Neema Askari and Greg Pope, almost immediately after this album‚Äôs release slowed the release of their upcoming full-length record. Thankfully, that‚Äôs where Matt Rose came in, and the band was able to carry on, especially after scoring a record deal with the one and only Century Media. Later, in 2012
, this debut full-length album finally sees the light of day, called ‚ÄúGnosis
in the modern tech metal realm of grooves and ambience, this quintet forks over 9 tracks that stick true to their members‚Äô roots.
Overall, the musicianship that ‚ÄúGnosis
‚ÄĚ displays for its audience is nicely done. The unclean vocals are a rather large improvement over the last release, delivering much more aggression and effort without sounding too forced. Sadly, the same cannot exactly be said for the clean singing, for while it is not flat-out abysmal, it does tend to sound somewhat unnatural and overly strained. Nonetheless, the vocals as a whole do come across as very decent. The instrumental musicianship also displays much grandeur and a little evolution from ‚ÄúWe Are the Foundation
.‚ÄĚ The guitars are plated with some powerful polyrhythms that can definitely get heads banging in the crowd. They also show some ambient melodies that interlace with the heavy guitar grooves, thus weaving altogether into a highly memorable and potent mix. The highly technical drumming accompanies the guitars incredibly well, giving the musical formula of ferocious progressive metal even more power. On top of all of this, the sound production unveils the true colors of the angry and bold aura of the music itself, and at no point in this record is it underwhelming. Despite the error in the clean singing, the musicianship shines quite brightly in ‚ÄúGnosis
Like their previous work, ‚ÄúGnosis
‚ÄĚ is an album that is loaded with tons of strong and technical metallic grooves throughout. They are the build of much of the album‚Äôs music overall, but each song is diverse enough from each other to keep the listener interested. These grooves are as heavy and pulverizing as they are complex and technical. This is played out by the seamless synchronization between the guitars and the drums, which, once again, showcases the members‚Äô great musical talents. ‚ÄúDoxa‚ÄĚ is probably the largest centerpiece for the potent grooves found in this album, and it‚Äôs one of the songs in this album that opens the curtains on how versatile the musicians are. Lacing together the mathematical breakdowns with powerful melodies accompanied by fierce, rapid-fire screams and transcending clean singing are the strongest of Monuments
‚Äô musical formula in this album. Sadly, while these grooves and breakdowns are no doubt gripping and are rather difficult to escape from, it is nothing truly new. In fact, plenty of other bands today have followed this formula in their albums before this one even came out, so jaded metal fans may not be very impressed with this familiarity. However, aside from that, this heavy aspect of ‚ÄúGnosis
‚ÄĚ is nicely done, and it also shows the influence drawn from some of the members‚Äô preceding projects.
This album, however, is not just all about the abrasiveness; along with that, there is some good ambience and melody that entwine with the music‚Äôs complex brutality flowingly. It‚Äôs also well played out, and it summons nice diversity and even more abstraction for ‚ÄúGnosis
.‚ÄĚ Although all of the tracks in this album hold plenty of these atmospheric moments, ‚Äú97% Static‚ÄĚ shows this ambient aspect of the album at the band‚Äôs fullest extent. The heavy tech metal patterns are still there, but even then, the entrancing, progressive, and spacey melodies hit the spotlight hard in this song. They also turn out even more concentrated and powerful in the more brief moments of this record. This includes the best song out the album named ‚ÄúDegenerate,‚ÄĚ which both crushes and stimulates with the ground-shattering grooves and the occasional clean singing-laden melodies throughout. Sadly, along with the heavy tech metal aspect of this album, the melodies present in ‚ÄúGnosis
‚ÄĚ are also nothing very new either, despite the fact they are executed strongly by the band‚Äôs sharp musicianship. In other words, while the ambience is great in this album, it‚Äôs not enough to make Monuments
completely stand out of the modern progressive metal crowd completely. Despite the generic factor, though, the atmospheric melodies that flow with the heaviness are nicely executed, and they truly add to the progressive aspect of this record.
The album artwork and the lyrics, along with the music itself, are also very praiseworthy. The artwork is spectacular, especially the cover, with waves of color catching the viewers‚Äô eyes upon first glance. The color flowing out of the person‚Äôs eyes could be interpreted as the vivid nature of one‚Äôs imagination, which alone is a very interesting concept. It could also symbolize the brightness of one‚Äôs intellect, hence the name ‚ÄúGnosis
,‚ÄĚ which is defined as the knowledge of spiritual or mystical subjects. The other artwork for ‚ÄúGnosis
‚ÄĚ is just as phenomenal, and it‚Äôs all incredibly intriguing to look at. As for the lyrics, they are as aggressive as the tunes, filled with subjects of internal conflict and anger towards today‚Äôs society. ‚ÄúDegenerate‚Äôs‚ÄĚ lyrics bring out the best of both worlds, and the tone completely clicks in with the fierce nature of the music. The artwork and lyrics latch onto the music perfectly, for while the complex art fits the progressive aspect of Monuments
‚Äô punchy technicality, the lyrics fill in for the aggressive tone of that music. Everything plays its part fantastically in this respect.
All in all, ‚ÄúGnosis
‚ÄĚ is a very decent piece of modern progressive metal. The musicianship, particularly the instrumental work, is splendid, aside from the sometimes overdone clean singing. The pummeling polyrhythms do a great job of captivating the band‚Äôs audience with their violent technicality. Progressive melodies and atmospheric parts tie together with the ferocious metallic grooves in smooth transition and complexity, making the formula all the more diverse and intriguing. The lyrical and art content that ‚ÄúGnosis
‚ÄĚ has to offer is powerful as well, and they serve as the icing on the cake. The one fatal problem with this record, however, is not the music itself. Rather, it‚Äôs the timing of the album‚Äôs rise that makes it seem so generic. The members are just sticking to their roots of the experimental and progressive metal from their older acts, such as Fellsilent
. Unfortunately, it is rather behind the rest of the technical metal pack, with the modern fusion of heavy-hitting polyrhythms and ambience being slightly outdated. Therefore, jaded fans won‚Äôt be too amazed by this record. Nonetheless, however, it is still a great listen for those who crave some robust, aggressive, and technical metal. Despite the flaws, ‚ÄúGnosis
‚ÄĚ has proven that Monuments
has lots of potential, and it will be pretty exciting to see what they could do with their energetic sound in the future. Get your groove on.