Monkeypriest – The Psalm …   Leave a comment

Monkeypriest from Spain have released their début full length album and it is time to celebrate, this album kills. Their earlier EP ‘Defending The Tree’ was really good but it seems it was only hinting at the real power of the band and was nothing more than a teaser for this monster release. It makes no difference what way you sliced it, Monkeypriest are on the ugly side of the doom fence. It may even be too crude to be called ‘doom,’ sludge-metal is a more accurate description of the crippling noise they unleash. Mixing death/thrash/black metal with doom/sludge/hardcore punk and stoner metal is no easy task but the band has nailed it with ‘The Psalm.’ It is obvious from the opening seconds of the first track, an instrumental intro titled ‘Hanuman’s Dance’ that the band has done some major overhauling in terms of production values. The sound of this album blows everything else the band has done into the dirt, the sound is simply fierce. Everything is bigger, heavier, thicker but it is also surprising in its clarity. It has a sound that will crush and hurt eardrums but you can hear every minor detail within the playing making ‘The Psalm’ a very exciting album to listen to. ‘Hanuman’s Dance’ is a hybrid of Sabbathian styled riffing and intense hardcore sludge mayhem and a great way to get warmed up for the rest of the disc.

‘The Word Of The Priest’ follows and is 7 minutes of anger-filled sludge-metal that is enough to break neck muscles so be careful cranking this one up. Bringing back memories of the very best of Iron Monkey, Grief and Eyehategod, this is uglier than a hat full of assholes. There is some nice grooves but you may have to do some digging to find them under the explosive guitar work and the hoarse vocals. Monkeypriest do tend to follow the Iommi blueprint of doom riffage pretty closely but it is hidden somewhat under the thick, suffocating weight of the sound. At times the band sounds like a more pissed-off version of ‘Winter’ or a more aggressive ‘Crowbar.’ Their doom/sludge/metal hybrid is a varied one in terms of influence so you get a very varied and diverse approach to guitar riffs. Following ‘The Word Of The Priest’ comes the one of the most punishing sludge tracks ever recorded by anyone. ‘The Psalm’ starts off with droning, sinister riffing before building up the tension and the tempo with a series of unique changes. One minute it is a seething Sabbathian groove, the next it sounds like 80’s thrash-metal played at the wrong speed. The riffs sound thrashy but played way real slow and the double kick drums are played in slow-motion, this is something you have to hear for yourself. There is also elements of blackened doom-metal and a psychedelic lead guitar break so everything has been thrown into this track and it works.

‘Involution’ is up next and they up the creepy atmosphere for this track. The black metal elements are a bit more prominent in this song especially in the guitar tremolo passages which sound very much in the classic black metal mold. This track stands out for its arrangement of starting slow and amping up the crustiness. From sinister ambience to pummeling sludge grooves, it is another very colorful track and it is also the third track in a row that is almost 7 minutes long. I doubt if it is a formula they are using but the album does seem to be repeating a writing concept at this point but that is all shattered by the next song, a cover of Cerebral Fix’s ‘Feast of the Fools.’ Not much to say here as Monkeypriest bring nothing new to the song, they play it more or less the same and while it has the ‘Monkeypriest’ extra heaviness and anger, it is basically no better or no worse than the original. I think I would have prefer it if the band had of recorded another original song than putting what is a stock-standard version of a cover tune on the album. ‘The Psalm’ gets back to the pure-sludge for the next track, ‘Capharnaum.’ This is a killer track but it is also the least interesting out of the 8 songs. It is brutal but doesn’t deviate much at all but still has a killer hook especially the infectious yet meandering bass line. It is again another 7 minutes or close to it of crusty, ugly sludge in the vein of Grief and other masters of sleazy, grimey doom-laden sludge metal – good track but a little forgettable.

The album ends with, what else – an epic!! ‘Our Kingdom (Involution Pt. II)’ is 10 to 11 minutes of atmospheric, creepy, menacing sludge that showcases ‘Monkeypriest’s ability as players and composers. The variation between spine-chilling guitar work and mesmerizing bass guitar sections is incredibly well done on this track. At one point the bass drives the song all by itself and it is totally captivating as well as incredibly atmospheric. They bring in subtle but effective melody lines but it is the way how this is constructed that makes this track essential listening. ‘Our Kingdom (Involution Pt. II)’ should go down in history as a ‘sludge-anthem’ as the song is perfect in my view, you will be replying this track many times over if (and you should) buy this album. After 46 exhausting minutes, it is all over and what a great album it is. ‘Monkeypriest’ have arrived in a way I think no one was expecting, especially me. If you like the band before, they will become a firm favorite now………..9/10
Monkeypriest @ Myspace
Feretro Records


Posted March 9, 2011 by doommantia in Monkeypriest

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