Monarch: S/T

MonarchHuzzah! I cast you awash into a jumble of black metal, tough guy, and Dimebag Darrell-emulating riffage! You are now swimming smack-dab in the middle of the Monarch self-titled album.

Unfortunately for you, the poor sap trying to tread water, there is little to separate one track from the next, so good luck finding your way out.

After setting off with a promising, Isis-esque, mid-tempo rock section, our metaphorical raft splits at the seams. It’s not until the album is more than 2/3 over that we hear anything resembling the music on track one. And that’s a shame, because the scattershot metal mess wouldn’t sound so tired if there were more breaks in theme.

The vocals do their best At the Gates impersonation, with some bass-y growls and Cradle of Filth screeches thrown in for good measure (also, the singer sort of sounds like a pirate). They never tie the songs together, however, as they ride roughshod over what is laid behind them. The guitar riffs try their best to be catchy, but fail to leave any sort of lasting impressions.

Ultimately, Monarch’s self-titled effort leaves us with songs that run together and are all too tiresome, without ever sounding as good as any of the other bands that I’ve mentioned.

– Scott Morrow
(Pop Faction)