The Black Monolith [Singapore]
The Black Monolith
The Black Monolith started off as local death metal bands Truth Be Known and Bhelliom guitarist Damien’s solo project, but grew into a full-fledged band in 2014. With the materials being written as far back as 2011, the band’s self-titled debut is a nice display of the influences that have gone into the playing of Damien, though the band promises that The Black Monolith will excite fans of all styles of rock, from 70s hard rock to 90s grunge.
While originally a solo project by Damien, and he obviously shows his wide range of influences on The Black Monolith, the talents and skills of the rest of the band cannot be discounted. For starters, vocalist Zed shows off his vocal range through the usage of difference styles throughout the record, going from a higher pitch, almost screechy, AC/DC-styled singing to more emotional moments like on You Don’t Care. Drummer Jason shows his experience as a versatile drummer, and the way he fills gaps on the record is highly addictive, like the rolls on tracks like Victim of Yourself. (The other) Damien keeps things interesting as well, and often puts in his own touch with the many groovy bass licks that he has inserted, particularly on Power of Destruction.
The songwriting of the band is also stellar, as they shift between the different styles with ease, from the classic hard rock of bands like Guns N’ Roses the rock n’ roll of Motörhead on tracks like Tommy Icarus and Death Race to the more punk-influenced Victim of Yourself, complete with gang shouts at the background and all that. Songs like Screamer see the band paying homage to the early blues/psychedelic rock of Jimi Hendrix. Intentionally or otherwise, the band has even cheekily inserted some riffs rather reminiscent of The Trooper towards the end of the track, further captivating the Maiden fan in me. Mundane even has a slight Pink Floyd feel with the dreamy, almost psychedelic mood set up by the band.
When the band promised before the release of The Black Monolith to bring listeners through rock history, from 70s hard rock to 90s grunge, they weren’t kidding as the music on their debut goes beyond just duplicating the various styles. Backed by a solid production quality, The Black Monolith‘s debut is one hell of a release, and my favourite local release of the year thus far.
1. Tommy Icarus
2. Victim of Yourself
3. Power of Destruction
4. You Don’t Care
6. Death Race
7. Get Off My Back
9. Living a Lie
Favourite picks: Power of Destruction, Screamer