Monuments – The Amanuensis (Century Media)Tuesday, 15th July 2014
The word “progressive” is such a dangler/tease these days. For every somewhat muscular, interesting, certifiably metal band ala Anubis Gate, Teramaze, and Voyager, there are lightweights, like the U.K.’s Monuments. And this is not to discount the band’s technical ability, for which there is plenty. However, the band’s overly melodic, sometimes really adventurous, but fluffy approach shouldn’t fall under the progressive banner like the above-mentioned trio. To a fault, Monuments on their sophomore go-round The Amanuensis go too far in trying to fit some kind of mold that would label them as “progressive.” Instead, the album is meatless, and boorish.
New vocalist Chris Barretto (formerly of Periphery) should be the first aspect to hone in on. As per one of the prerequisites of playing music of this style, he’s soft and tender, tirelessly EMO during some songs (i.e. “Origin of Escape”), while playing the role of good cop and bad cop on “Horcrux,” which is a djent song, no matter how much the band decries the style in the accompanying album text. It’s like, why not embrace it when you’re going to that route anyway? Further moments of brute come via “The Alchemist,” which is the album’s heaviest song and certainly it’s most “neo-whatever.”
Quite hard to back something that is really a poor mish-mash of what has come down the pike the last five or six years in reference to “progressive” metal like this, which is essentially just a trickle-down of EMO, post-metal, and djent. There’s a combo for you. Monuments might have ample might in the musicality department, but for those on the outside looking in on this little, but soon-to-be-short-lived movement, an album like The Amanuensis carries little, if any weight. So back to the start: Monuments are pretty a bunch of lightweights; featherweights if we’re being generous.