Never slow in drawing the most expansive and intensive journeys across their releases and our imaginations, UK based New Zealanders Monsterworks bring their second dramatic exploration of the year with the album Overhaul. Their eleventh full-length in fourteen years with the band formed two years before their first in 1998, that time also including a couple on EPs, it is no surprise to receive another encounter this year but what does astonish is how the band keep every proposition as startlingly inventive and diversely sculpted without covering the same ground of sound or ideation. The new six track release is another fascinating journey and investigation which transfixes as it agitates, seduces as it bewilders.
The successor to Universe from earlier this year, the new album finds the band stepping back from the more universal explorations of the previous releases; in the words of vocalist/guitarist Jon, “Overhaul is effectively about the change we have to go through as a species in the hope of avoiding annihilation. There are definitely some common themes being explored that started to emerge in the last album; mostly about projecting where we will ultimately end up by the time the Universe ends in a few trillion trillion years or so. This side of it was inspired by an Asimov short story: The Last Question.”
There is a rawer edge and intensity to Overhaul than on certainly Universe and Earth before it but not to the detriment and unpredictable beauty aligned to the imaginative ingenuity the band persistently cast in their compositions. Drawing on the essences of every style and flavour imaginable, Monsterworks once again has created an adventure which leaves the senses immersed and thoughts engaged whilst the passions ignite with another lustful appetite for a riveting proposition from the band.
Opening track Educate the Masses emerges from within a sonic mist, a portentous silence broken by a similarly haunting and increasing breath of energy before erupting into a raucous revelry of guitar and vocals. That raw antagonistic air mentioned before is an immediate lure to the heavy metal flavoured canvas now seducing ears and imagination. As you expect from the band it is a momentary scenic view in an ever evolving landscape, melodic and harmonious hues lighting up the post metal/progressive colouring and invention wrapping flirtingly around ears. The twists might be expected but the manner they take and seamlessly move through is as unpredictable as ever, the song a perpetual fascination of sound and thought driven ingenuity.
The compelling starter is followed by the equally captivating and imposingly impressing To Do What Must Be Done. A caress of melodic beauty and sonic elegance, the track is soon adding the pestilence of predatory vocal squalls and blackened sonic causticity to its magnetic embrace without corrupting the radiant seduction at the heart of the song. With a delicious heavy bass swagger spreading its welcome toxicity across a flowing groove fest of enticement which itself is clasped by a black metal seeded malevolence, the track leaves on an enthralling climax which is as distinctly unique to the start of the track’s passage as it is similarly irresistible.
The title track spreads a doom spawned drone within a hug of warm sonic tempting, the union as mesmeric as it is caustically hostile, extremes uniting in a tempestuous evocation led by compelling vocals and guitar endeavour. Its emotive pull is succeeded by the stockier confrontation of Trial of the Sentient. Strands of classic and thrash metal entwine with more stoner and progressive tendrils of invention though again the bass creates the deepest contagious coaxing whilst the vocals explore varied muscular stances which would easily find a place in a Mastodon or Black Tusk offering. As all songs, it is impossible to portray all that goes in the sound and imagination of Monsterworks but it is an insatiable creativity which persistently sets templates in presence and invention.
Penultimate roars and resonates with its own masterly brew of flavours and swirling voracious intensity to leaves thoughts and emotions enamoured before final song Resolution takes the listener on a twelve minute flight with turbulent energies within a seductive climate. That as you will suspect is just a shade of the enterprise and imagination stretching creativity at work across the pleasure igniting terrain of the song. It is a scintillating close to another immensely impressing and thrilling proposition from Monsterworks. The James Plotkin mastered Overhaul does lack an indefinable something to predecessor Universe to just miss its high plateau but still stands aside and above the crowd to prove its creators as one of the most inspiring bands within metal.
Overhaul is available on August 26th through Eat Lead and Die digitally and as a 180g gatefold vinyl signed by the band.
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