Monarch – Go Forth… Slaughter (Self-Released)Monday, 2nd October 2017
Often as we traverse down the rabbit hole of heavy metal, we find ourselves committing fully to musicians and their other endeavors if we already admire, follow, or respect the original band we got into in the first place. Monarch from Vista, California is a four-piece act coming to this scribe’s attention through bassist Alex Pickard and guitarist Casey Trask – two members involved in the heavy/power metal group Cage. Previously issuing their Dawn to Night EP in 2011, they’ve finally gotten proper time to write, record, and issue a full-length follow up with Go Forth…Slaughter, a prime example of the relentless combination of old school thrash and early death melding together into this kinetic frenzy aural cocktail that underground legions clamor for.
The ripping riffs, savage stop/start changes, and venomous vocals beyond the faster drum work with proper half-time Slayer-esque groove parts tells you we aren’t dealing with prototypical, melodic driven material. Songs like “Entropy” and “Beheaded” prove that Monarch come at things from a Demolition Hammer/Arise-era Sepultura angle, along with spots of Death and Kreator when the guitars choose to get a little more intricate and technical. The sonic swirl of drums, bass and guitars can often make one feel like they are escaping a nasty bee swarm, the down picking and adrenaline rush never tame, pumping out the primal effect that this sub-genre conveys when approached all guns blazing. Guitarist Matt Smith doubles on vocals, racing along with the music at breakneck speeds, punctuating many of his words in true Araya-ish from the cauldron screams – possessed, evil, and never forsaking the cause. The slower segments that pop in and out during the intro for “Bloody Assault” or “Decadence” give listeners respite and broader atmospheric context before the next speed train runs over you. And Trask/Smith get to throw down a longer, spirited guitar battle during the prolonged instrumental section of the seven-minute plus title cut – reliving some Maiden/Priest/Megadeth glories.
A very colorful cover can also win over many fence-sitting people – and the rawer attention to detail on the production front gives us a clearer picture of what to expect live (a sinister snare snap plus in your face guitar tones duly noted). Go Forth…Slaughter executes in that late 80’s/early 90’s thrash/death platform, where people lost interest in major label veterans straying into commercial waters. Monarch makes it safe for you to trust their music: brutal, aggressive, and all for the love of the genre.