Friday, September 30, 2011

MonstrO - S/T

MonstrO are an exhilarating breath of fresh air. For real. I'm inhaling deeply.

This one-of-a-kind, rock/metal/ambient band out of Atlanta, Ga., play music much like the cover art of their self-titled debut - it's vibrant, colorful and lively but still has a touch of darkness. MonstrO is plenty heavy enough for me; the vocals are clear and triumphant with intelligent and thought-provoking lyrics. The album quickly lifted me to the highest oxygen-deprived peaks and brought me back down gently on soft feather pillows. I love it.

I have to admit something. I really should have listened to my old buddy from Kentucky, Randy, who liked MonstrO before I did. "I dig the vocals a lot," he told me. "Sounds like something I could get into."

Me too, bro. I was already a huge Torche fan and now I can include guitarist Juan Montoya's new band. Former Bloodsimple rhythm section Bevan Davies (drums) and Kyle Sanders (bass, vocals) joined Montoya and vocalist/guitarist Charlie Suarez (Sunday Driver) to spawn MonstrO in 2009.

“We are unashamed to stretch ourselves musically, with no regards for a 'play it safe' mentality" says Davies.  No doubt. The first half is much more zestful to me and the last more psychedelic but every song on MonstrO is an intriguing adventure.

I'm in my own little world as soon as I press play. "Fantasma" (2:27) is fantastic and explosive and it's probably my favorite song. Then again, I'm a former sailor and current 'Saylor' so I really enjoy riding the rolling waves of "Anchors Up!" (5:10), with it's nautical nature.

On "Concertina" (6:15), my world's beginning to calm down but with about 2 minutes left, MonstrO bust out titanic riffs while suggesting, "Concertina cradles you to sleep." Then, "Wake up!"  I did already. Sheesh. Just in time for "Stallone" (4:17) to punch me in the gut, tell me to shake it off and remind me to breathe. Ugh. Thanks.  "Solar" (2:47) is another groovin' jewel. I'm blinded by its light, too.

"Elizabeth", "Helios" and "Apollo" are perfect psych-rock masterpieces, each is about 4 minutes long and has its own trippy, thick atmosphere. But the last track, "April" (8:29) is the crowning psychedelic achievement on MonstrO, in my opinion. It's the ideal ending to an amazing musical experience.

MonstrO are on a U.S. tour this month with KYUSS Lives! and The Sword. See this band if you get chance but definitely get a copy of MonstrO (Sept. '11, Vagrant) from ITunes.

You should also check out Montoya's side-project, Stallone, in which he teams up with drummer Evan Diprima. They have a couple of extremely hard-hitting instrumental tracks on their Facebook page (link below) and I can't wait to hear more.

--Heddbuzz



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