A remarkable album of pure heavy music that will take you on a journey back to the glorious early days of Heavy Metal.
There are bands that are born to play more progressive or introspective music, with thoughtful lyrics that will make you reconsider some aspects of your life. Other groups focus on a more theatrical side of business, relying heavily on their outfits, makeup, corpse-painting and/or stage production to differentiate themselves in the market. And there are American Heavy Metal saviors Monolith, which had only one thing in mind while crafting their superb brand new full-length album Against The Wall Of Forever: 100% pure Heavy Metal.
Founded in 2013 by guitarist Doug Walker (The Hookers, Nixon), with current and former members of MF Ruckus, The Embalmers and Zombie Cartel and having already played with names like The Dwarves, Sepultura and Electric Wizard, Monolith do not want to start any revolution in heavy music. What those talented guys from San Diego, California really want to offer us all headbangers is honest and electrifying heavy music inspired by their idols from the mid-70’s/early-80’s era of Heavy Metal, such as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest and Metallica, and they simply nailed it with their new album, a serious contender for top metal album of 2015.
Against The Wall Of Forever is a huge kick in your face right from the start with the spectacular old school Thrash/Heavy Metal anthem The Emperor (The Suffering Of Fools), especially due to the excellent vocals by Aaron Howell and the exciting guitar duo comprised of Doug Walker and Jared Bliss. Their traditional riffs and solos remind me a lot of some Iron Maiden classics from the 80’s, and I don’t need to say how positive that is. Following that metal music havoc we have the title-track, Against The Wall Of Forever, which showcases more influences from the NWOBHM such as its thrilling galloping rhythm thanks to the great job done by drummer Ben Pincock and bassist David Ortuno.
The next track, Caravan, comes with a very simple question: are you ready for some intense circle pits? It’s amazing how they managed to create such polished music without losing that rawness needed in classic Heavy Metal, and you’ll feel pumped for screaming the name of the song together with Aaron during its chorus. Furthermore, none of the guitar solos sound out of place in this song (nor in the entire album). And can we call the dark ballad Kindly Dr. Jest (The Interrogator) as “Blues Metal”? Well, call it the way you prefer, as long as you acknowledge the incredible job Aaron does by impersonating the character of “Dr. Jest”, which based on my online research is an alchemist and chief interrogator of Melnibone who is a connoisseur of torture, and his life’s work is to elevate the infliction of pain in to an art form. It can’t get any better than this!
Die With Your Master, another of the top moments of the entire album, is a terrific tribute to the good old times of Metallica, inspired by masterpieces like “Whiplash”, “Metal Militia” and so on: it’s as raw and fast as it can be, and more than perfect for some furious mosh pits with your friends. Then a more progressive vein arises in The Prophet, with lots of breaks and variations nicely inserted amidst all the sonic madness.
The heavy music celebration goes on with another very solid track named The All-Father And The Chaos Lords, which focus heavily on its headbanging riffs blended with the screams by Aaron. If you’re a fan of frantic metal music, the last part of this song is tailored for you. And last but not least, sounding even more Iron Maiden-ish than ever (apparently inspired by the all-time classic “Rime of the Ancient Mariner” or any other track from the flawless album Powerslave), Monolith offer us the excellent Elusive Prey (The Hunter), where Doug and Jared are kicking some serious ass on the guitars with their awesome riffs and solos.
Even the album art, by illustrator Matthew Haas, transpires Heavy Metal and perfectly represents how impactful the music by Monolith is. So go like them on Facebook, visit their YouTube channel, listen to their music on their SoundCloud page, and order your copy of Against The Wall Of Forever at the official Funeral Noise Records webstore (they have some cool bundles available). Although we’re already in 2015, Monolith will take you on a journey back in time, more specifically to the early 80’s when heavy music was beyond glorious and mighty.
Best moments of the album: The Emperor (The Suffering Of Fools), Kindly Dr. Jest (The Interrogator) and Die With Your Master.
Worst moments of the album: Honestly, it’s really hard to find something bad or uninspired in the whole album. Maybe The All-Father And The Chaos Lords?
Released in 2015 Funeral Noise Records
1. The Emperor (The Suffering Of Fools) 5:02
2. Against The Wall Of Forever 3:34
3. Caravan 3:11
4. Kindly Dr. Jest (The Interrogator) 4:27
5. Die With Your Master 3:22
6. The Prophet 4:21
7. The All-Father And The Chaos Lords 3:54
8. Elusive Prey (The Hunter) 3:41
Aaron Howell – vocals
Doug Walker – guitar
Jared Bliss – guitar
David “Gordo” Ortuno – bass
Ben Pincock – drums