It is a couple of weeks short of when Spanish horror punks The Monster Ones first burst into our welcoming crypt two years ago with their impressive slice of danger, the I Wanna Be A Teenage Monster EP. The second release from the band it was a feisty and bruising slab of mausoleum rock ‘n’ roll with punk attitude and glam rock wantonness. It has been a seemingly long time for the next episode of their death soaked enterprise but the patience is tested no longer as their debut album has been uncaged to ravage ears and stir up passions. Twelve slices of horror bred contagion, We Are The Monsters is an unbridled web of sonic intrigue and blood drenched grooves spiked with an addiction forging toxin as potent and impressive as any unleashed so far this year.
Formed in 2008, the Palma de Mallorca band soon made a strong scar locally with their blend of punk, blues, and rockabilly infused with healthy doses of glam and hard rock. It is a sound which is recognisable in many ways but unique in just as many others. The release of the Transilvania Rock City EP in 2010 drew them good attention but it was I Wanna Be A Teenage Monster two years later which stirred up greater awareness and appetites for their emerging menace, the band becoming regulars on our Bone Orchard podcasts alone. It is easy to feel that the release of We Are The Monsters could be the anticipated trigger to a stronger spotlight on the band with its striking range of flavoursome and deathly stabs of prime rock ‘n’ roll. Time is always the unveiling of reality but with the deaf and dead possible exceptions, it is hard to imagine true rockers not losing their inhibitions over this scintillating rampage.
Led by the fiery tones of vocalist Cecile The Beast alongside the rapier riffs of guitarists Carpi Malone and V, as well as the thumping beats of drummer Maf, The Monster Ones go straight for the jugular from the first seconds, teasing, taunting and seducing with unbridled rapaciousness. Aided and abetted by bassist Elvis Lugosi throughout the encounter with occasional guest backing vocals from Alex Femenías, the band lays a bait of rhythms and acidic guitar around the ears to open up first track Monster Heroes. Soon into its stride a blues lilt soaks the melodic flames of the song whilst drums crisply jab and the bass prowls around the senses alongside more straightforward raw riffing. The vocals of Cecile are as potent as the sounds, her delivery powerful and inflammatory easily leading the appetite to a full engagement with the anthemic chorus. It is a more than solid introduction of heavy rock, nothing dramatically grabbing, that comes later, but fully enjoyable.
Once the throaty bass line courted by intimidating beats hits the ears as Alien Paradise appears, an even greater exciting outlook breaks out. The twin attack has total slavery of thoughts and emotions by the time Cecile and soaring guitar swipes join the affray. Into its stride the track is an adventurous punk tempest with broadly swinging rhythms and raging guitar causticity bringing a mix of The Duel and The Creepshow to the rampancy. It is one of those encounters where feet and personal exploits are no longer yours to command, a criminally addictive rampage impossible to get enough of.
The very different Solo El Solo is very much the same, its sultry dramatic climate over the strolling landscape a magnetic scenery to immerse in whilst the tangy vocals explore a cinematic narrative. Part cowpunk, part rockabilly, and fully spaghetti western intrigue, the track shows further the variety to sound and album which has paraded its raucous charm already, an enticement given another spice by Swamp Thing’s Lover. This song strides purposefully with flexing rhythmic sinews and heavy riffing across thick textures and a consuming atmosphere, its open hooks barbed but respectful to the tempting intensity brewing across the intimidating premise.
Both songs leave throat and memory involved long after their departure, though they do have to contend with the quite brilliant pair of Radioactive Dog and Black Roller for that success. The first of the two rumbles and charges down the ears highway from the opening note, the psychobilly spice to the careering groove and spiteful grin to the antagonistic beats irresistible. Settling into its hungry predation, Cecile the temptress to its seductive malevolence aided by great ghoulish harmonies, the song unleashes lethal hooks and a magnificent groove straight out of the Buzzcocks repertoire to steal an even greater chunk of the passions. It is a colossal triumph swiftly matched by its successor, Black Roller a badgering treat with its own insidious groove and heart spearing irreverence. Unleashing biting punk ‘n’ roll with horror punk jaws, the predator is a barbarous dark hearted seducing with Cecille its dangerous Lilith.
Joker ignites another spasm of hunger next with its dirty rock ‘n’ roll voracity, discord grazing imagination, and virulently addicting lures before The Man who was The Death swaggers in, its rhythmic hips swerving around the equally wanton guitar adventure and ever riveting vocals. The bass offers a deeper malice in its tempting too which only inflames the appeal of the creative bruising and the epidemically forceful infection, a toxicity which is just as insatiable in Always Elm Street which features guest guitarist Tomeu Destructor. There is a definite Batman-esque lure to the core hook of the song but it only broadens the eager smile and pleasure provided.
The next song Rat returns to a wider heavy rock persuasion, guitars flaring up with scorching spirals of sonic invasiveness against refreshing riffs. Though it is an accomplished and skilful blaze, the track fails to reach the heights and reactions of its predecessors. It pleasingly pushes the variety of the release all the same and makes a fine appetiser for the groove infestation of Bloody Stones, a track which spits out cutting riffs, battering rhythms, and searing grooves like it is its last chance. A thoroughly compelling and incendiary incitement, the song has to make way for the closing predatory stalking of Black Suede Night, a final solicitous trap to lose the passions to.
We Are The Monsters shows that The Monster Ones has really grown as a band from sound and songwriting to their presence. They are a powerfully confident and inventive proposition now which gives horror punk and rock ‘n’ roll a new thrilling ‘villain’ to drool over.
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