After a considerable break, progressive metal outfit Monuments have finally returned with their third full-length album, ‘Phronesis’. Four years may seem like a relatively short period of time in between albums, but in today’s industry, the collective attention can sadly turn away all too quickly.
Though Monuments are clearly one of the strongest bands of the djent movement, this style of music has become a little predictable, not through the band’s fault of course. It’s also worth noting that some members’ past tenures in acts like Fellsilent and Periphery bring with them plenty of experience.
There’s plenty of riffing and a solid groove maintained all the way through tracks like ‘Hollow King’, but the first three tracks generally leave you feeling a little cold and don’t set Monuments apart greatly from their contemporaries.
Also, lyrics like “Never gonna let be me / What the hell do you want from me? / Honestly, leave me the fuck alone” from ‘Stygian Blue’ are bluntly honest, but they read a bit like a teenager’s diary.
Despite a somewhat slow start, the album picks up considerably with plenty of highlights around its mid-point, such as ‘Mirror Image’, which is a little bit different than what’s come before. Chris Barretto‘s pop stylings are on show the most in this track, and his voice is arguably the greatest asset of Monuments.
The band are like a well-oiled machine, with the guitars and drums showing plenty of chops, but at the same time all managing to compliment one another effortlessly. They can also get heavy and offer atmosphere in equal measure.
‘Leviathan’, with its almost nu-metal opening, has a particularly memorable chorus. ‘Celeste’, the track that might best encapsulate Monuments‘ talents, also carries on in a similar fashion, but it’s a noticeably different song with a relatively varied set of soundscapes offered.
The d-word is a bit of a joke to some, but Monuments would be a great starting point to someone not familiar with the djent boom. While this is clearly what you’d expect from a band of Monuments‘ ilk, and is generally in the confines of its sub-genre, there’s more than plenty on show here.
The style of riffing and production methods with this brand of metal has become a little predictable, but Monuments have delivered with ‘Phronesis’. It’ll be interesting to see where they go on their next effort.