Opening with a majestic intro that shows the band to be clearly influenced by bombastic progressive hard rock, it explodes into the first song proper ‘Firefight’. This lies somewhere at a crossroads between hevy devy metal (its a genre), 70’s hard rock, melodic death metal and prog/power metal. A very fresh sound indeed, which is surprising how hackneyed the inspirations have become. This has a passion and a sense of honesty often missing in musicians and albums of such virtuosity. The vocalist is like a one man war between the aforementioned Devin (minus the reverb OD) and impaled Nazarene. Lovely atmospheric keyboards drench the proceedings but never intrude on the seriously riff-alicious guitars. Thankfully the leads avoid the dreaded Maiden syndrome as well as the abhorred pretty-ness or the Amotts.Instead the guitars and the organic song structures evoke the free flowing spirit of 70’s metal (as on “November”) and the classic (doomy) metal rumblings of “Stars Malign”. This tranverses the entire classic and extreme metal spectrum in its 48 minutes, without once sounding forced or contrived. “Defenders of the Southern Cross” is another masterpiece but its all good really. Its great the way the same instruments (guitars, drums, bass, keys) and the same genre (metal) can still sound so fresh and vital, without resorting to non-traditional composition techniques. The way the band makes Lynrd Skynrd collide head on with Strapping Young Lad has to be heard to be believed.
This band has single handedly revived my faith in progressive metal, infusing it with an almost punk enthusiasm and a true sense of adventure. For those who have had enough of the navel-gazing bloat metal of Opeth or the sheer gay-ness of Dream Theatre, give this a spin to see what you have been missing. My only regret is that this could not be included on my AGM Top Ten. The way the free-bird-seque acoustics of “Lonely Crown” erupts into the raging wall of sound and how the composition continues will give any metal fan the shivers.”Paralellysis” is another heartfelt acoustic interlude leading to another monstrous track “Alliance”. Overall the vocals are some of the most passionate I have heard in a while (though very occasionally interspersed with a more generic growl) while the instrumentation takes the best elements of progressive and extreme metal (as well as 70’s southern rock) and comes up with a winning mix. I could go on and on but suffice to say get it now.
This is a concept record, being something of an action-space-drama, but the cohesive concept is only the icing on the cake, because the music stands tall on its own. And finally the cherry on this monster metal sundae – its available for free download (hi quality mp3) directly from the band’s site here: http://www.supermetal.net/Main.html
Somehow its fitting that this is from New Zealand. You can almost smell the warp speed engine running on diesel and Fosters here.
1. Monsterworks – Leaving Home (2:13)
2. Monsterworks – Firefight (2:52)
3. Monsterworks – Spacial Forces (3:18)
4. Monsterworks – November (4:10)
5. Monsterworks – Stars Malign (3:53)
6. Monsterworks – Defenders Of The Southern Cross (5:17)
7. Monsterworks – Lonely Crown (5:36)
8. Monsterworks – Hysterical Rapture (1:24)
9. Monsterworks – Pain And Elation (4:38)
10. Monsterworks – Paralellysis (1:31)
11. Monsterworks – Alliance (4:10)
12. Monsterworks – Exfiltration (1:25)
13. Monsterworks – Voyage Of Magma Maiden (5:19)
14. Monsterworks – To Be Continued (2:37)