Saturday, July 19, 2014

Monobrow - Big Sky, Black Horse

Before we get into Big Sky, Black Horse I feel obligated to admit Bennington Triangle Blues was the first album on vinyl that I ever owned and purchased solely on my own. Now that may come as a shocker to some, but truth be told my parents weren't music freaks like me. I wasn't exposed to records nor did I care to purchase a piece of plastic, or wax I guess it is, to play on a record player, or turntable I suppose they call them, that I never owned. I've always been drawn to music since a young age, too young for a record player to be the most practical device to use. I grew up on tapes, then CDs, and later digital. I'm a huge advocate of digital, always have and always will be. It wasn't until early this year (2014) that I decided to immerse myself into the world of vinyl junkyism. 

Whether it was coincidence, divine intervention, or just me being my normal cheap ass self I saw the sale price at the Heavy Ripples big cartel store and was inspired to purchase the record. My copy of Bennington Triangle Blues will soon be joined by its latest brethren Big Sky, Black Horse and has since been reunited with Monobrow's self-titled on wax as well. All that rambling be told, let it be said, Big Sky, Black Horse absolutely destroys and I'm going to have trouble finding room on my shelf for it. After only half a year my collection is nearing 100 records of mostly all new bands and albums of many different styles that I absolutely love.

(Side note, there are several package deals on bandcamp for ordering multiple Monorbrow vinyl releases at a discounted rate including the new one linked with the self titled, and the self-titled with Bennington Triangle Blues)

I'm the first to admit that I'm not opposed to instrumental music. I just don't prefer it. That said, when an album like this comes around, and a few including King Dead, Brunt, and the latest Tumbleweed Dealer already have this year, I am all ears. In fact why ruin a good thing with sub-par vocals when you can put that added energy back into the real instruments to enhance the core of the heavy rock? Monobrow push the envelope with an invigorating blend of heavy riffs, catchy hooks, classic melodies and flawless transitions.

Cicada opens the record with a driving upbeat tune straight out of the classic rock handbook. It takes me directly back to the 70's, which is difficult because I was born in '81, yet I can feel the spirit of the 70's pumping through me like bell bottoms flapping in the wind. The song wastes no time showing the band’s diversity and the theme of the entire record. It transitions around a tripped out tribal drumbeat with a soft haunting riff that fades in and out for the remainder of the song reminding you that you are not alone.

These Mountains Don't Want Us Here, but they surely coax us with their canyons echoing with gusty melodic riffs. Like realizing your worst nightmare is only a dream and waking up to the reality that supersedes your nightmare. The grinding riff at the 5:10 mark swallows you limb by limb, slowly churning away it's groove into your cavity for the remainder of the song before spitting you out onto the battlefield of the next song like a storm cloud spews heavy flakes of frozen tundra.
There's a weighty essence of doom metal throughout keeping the record accessible to the heavy hearted doom crowd, yet the record has enough psychotic breaks and pauses to enlist the above average progrock nerd as well. Stoner love is a given as Monobrow is covered with a light fuzz, especially connecting the surface above and around the upper eye socket.

As the record plays on, the excitement soars and the riffs march on. Even acoustics shine as in the short lullaby Hamartia which leads into the title track. Big Sky, Black Horse not only lives up to its name in terms of natural brute force, but it adequately portrays the detailed cover art in an organic fashion. Creeping in at the 11:43 mark, the title track almost doubles the average length of the rest of the songs. Shear doom madness spews all over the speakers within the first 2:00 of the track, oozing towards a faster paced rock n roll ballad by 2:30. The riffs reek of the doomiest odor as they linger amongst their crushing volume and catchy tone. The song builds and builds, like you wish every instrumental song should, towards a finale of rhythmic ecstasy.

In short, Monobrow have unleashed a beast of an album which deserves your utmost attention. From the superbly tenacious white horse struggling through black tar on the cover to the heroic melodies tracking its sound, Big Sky, Black Horse serves as an inspirational instrumental relic representing modern stoner/doom metal.

-The Huntsman


dan said...

Monobrow are absolutely magnificent. At no point does the lack of vocal become an issue (I must confess I prefer instrumental rock, or parts where the ego shuts up and lets those that can rock get on with the rocking)and interest is maintained throughout.
My only problem with Monobrow is that they are non-touring. Make them do a kickstarter, make them come to Europe, please, come on lads, you know you want to!
You've got some clout Ripple Music, make them tour.

buck09 said...

Thanks for reading and commenting Dan. I agree Monobrow are great. Ripple Music will do their best to create ripples in the music scene. Until then we hope you continue to ride the ripples and make your own. Thanks for the support!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...