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- Beyond The Black Sky by Monkey 3
8/10 Mike Staff review, 16 June 2011
Monkey 3 are the latest signings on Germany's mighty Stickman Records. Apparently they've been going for a decade or so and this is actually their fourth album. They call themselves a stoner rock band but this album largely sounds like pretty straight post-metal to me. They're a Swiss four-piece (yeah, I know...) who play ponderous, monolithic instrumental rock music, informed by heavy '70s psychedelia and '00s post-rock. It's a heady mix indeed, and the ponderous instrumental grooves struck by these guys really get the old head nodding away. As a guitar-centric instrumental rock band with loud/quiet/loud dynamics it's very hard not to compare them to the likes of Mogwai (at their more Rock moments) or Mono or Explosions in the Sky. I'd say they measure up against those bands pretty favourably, though, and there's a constant seam of great melodies and grooves running through the heart of this album. Of those bands I'd say the closest comparison was EITS, given that they share the traditional rock instrumentation and slight metallic edge to the heavier parts. That's not to say that it's totally post-metal-by-numbers, though. Black Maiden builds up to a searing, slow psychedelic guitar solo that's pretty mouthwatering. The production on this record is pretty slick, to the point where it almost reminds me of White Zombie in places. The drums sound massive. It's the kind of polished recording where the heavy bits often sound more bombastic than scuzzy, which I sometimes feel is to their detriment, but I guess it does make for an easier listen, and these riffs pretty much speak for themselves anyway. There are some total lighters-aloft moments if you want them, too. My personal highlight right now is 'Motorcycle Broer', which has some totally uplifting guitar harmonies on it. Weirdly enough, although they're clearly capable of showing restraint, I kind of feel like these guys are most in their element when they're busting out the rock cliches, since they're clearly so proficient at the rockstar heroics when they do throw them in. Apparently John Garcia had a guest slot on their last album, you do the math(s). If you've still got a weakness for the mighty riff, this should help tide you over until post-metal gets fashionable again.
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