posted on 4/2005 By:
After several years of toil in their native New Zealand, during which Monsterworks released a pair of demos and a couple full lengths, the band decided to move camp to London, in hope of finding a more fertile scene and no doubt looking to lure some label interest. It doesn’t appear that M-Theory, Monsterworks’ first output following their transplantation, has paid prompt dividends, as the album was released well over a year ago and the band’s website doesn’t reflect any kind of label news. But while I’m sure Monsterworks, like most unsigned bands, is still hoping to secure that elusive deal, it also seems that the band is more than able and content to continue their DIY effort, and are also justified in the pride they have expressed in their latest album as an album of quality and their best to date.
The “M” in M-Theory is for metal, and the band’s mantra seems to be that it’s all about the metal, as seen on their website—littered with statements of “image over metal” and talk of true metal, and the in title of the anthemic “Supermetal”. And although Monsterworks will never be the first thing you reach for when you’re in the mood for the obscenely heavy, they do remain firmly within the boundaries of their musical passion. According to their website, the band’s earlier efforts blended more metal styles, including thrash, death, and black, but M-Theory is predominantly a melodic thrash album, with traces of death metal here and there. It is highly melodic, lacking the gritty aggression typically found in thrash, but thankfully the album isn’t overly polished and retains a welcome rawness to its brighter tone. The songs are packed with tempo changes, choppy riff work and frequent harmonics. Acoustic work is used regularly but sparingly and is therefore unobtrusive, cropping up in intros (“Latro Prelium”) and outros (“For Glory”), but most effectively when overlapped with electric work, such as during the chorus of “Shatter of Worlds”. It is surprising the band chose to include a sample of Winston Churchill’s “We will fight…” speech on the thunderous “Rogue”, as that speech (well, that part of it anyway) is unequivocally owned by Iron Maiden—it’s not even Churchill’s anymore. One of the more appealing aspects of the band’s sound is Jono’s John Connelly-like (Nuclear Assault) soaring scream, which he counterbalances with occasional guttural growls, usually during blasting double-time thrash breaks. The Connelly vibe is especially noticeable on some of the best tracks on the album, like “Supermetal” and “Redemption” which packs a chorus full of vocal calisthenics. M-Theory has a fairly consistent sound and approach, although “For Glory” is a bit of an anomaly. It’s a slower paced, patriotic sounding instrumental with some strings and synths. It was originally the album closer, but M-Theory now contains the bonus track “Body Fortress”, which proves to be a more raucous and effective closer.
Monsterworks continues to evolve their style while remaining loyal to their oath to play pure metal. M-Theory is about as good an album as you will hear from an unsigned band, and it wouldn’t be surprising if their steadfastness and professionalism is eventually rewarded.
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