Wednesday, March 19, 2014

"Universe" by Monsterworks

One of the best things about heavy metal is awesome cover art. Take a moment to appreciate Monsterwork's latest cover.

Now, on with it. Monsterworks is a veteran metal band out of New Zealand. Honestly, not much knowledge of their homeland have I, but they formed nearly two decades ago in 1996 and have now released, with Universe, nine full length albums and two EPs.

This is another casualty of how the world changed, but also one of the ones whose music has made it to the other side of the globe thanks to the internet.

It's typical for me to try to place a band in a group with its peers and to try to pick out the influences as I hear them, but Monsterworks does very well to keep these things hidden, save one...

Metal at sunset.
Metallica in their progressive era.

Like Metallica's ... And Justice For All and Master of Puppets these songs are big, progressive and lush with, forgive me, sonic colors.

But there are some major differences. To begin with, Monsterworks has a much larger palette  of colors to use and and they are willing to pull from a variety of influences to increase the amount of color given, unlike Metallica, who only had a single sound in that era.

The vocals range from King Diamond style shrieks, though lacking the falsetto, to James Hetfield roars, to David Vincent growls, and still more. Quality metal has peaks and valleys in order to create dynamics. All too often, metal's not proper or the vocals cannot match the hills and valleys of the music.

This is not the case here.

The guitars are just as varied as the vocals. From crunching chords to underwater sounding arpeggios. Deftly played and skillfully written. From Iron Maiden like single not melody lines to Metallica styled crunch, they left nothing out.

The drums are perfectly double bassy, without blast beats, because this isn't really death metal, at least not more than 25 to 30% of the time.

If you've ever needed a band that had something for everybody (who likes metal), this is the album you should play.

Release: 3/11/14
Genre: Metal, Progressive Metal
Label: Eat Lead and Die Music
Run time: 41:14
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1) Universe
2) Grandiose
3) Voyager
4) The Bridge
5) Extropy
6) Heat Death
7) Outside Time

"Voyager" by Monsterworks on Youtube.

1 comment:

  1. I'm not a big metal fan, though when the mood strikes me I like to listen to something hard, fast, and loud. Your review has convinced me to give this a listen. Thanks, Nik!