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Review: Monsterworks - Universe

Label: Independent
Year released: 2014
Duration: 41:05
Tracks: 7
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 3/5

Review online: July 15, 2014
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating

Rated 3.33/5 (66.67%) (3 Votes)

Monsterworks is a band from New Zealand that has been around for nearly 20 years, having formed back in 1996. I picked up the thread with the EP Man :: Instincts, which I found less than impressive. The band stepped up their game with their ninth album, Earth, so I was happy to see album #10, Universe, show up in my inbox.

What has not changed in the year since Earth was released is the number of influences Monsterworks brings to the recording studio. Heavy Metal, Hard Rock, Black Metal, psychedelia from the 60s, strings; the list goes on and on. You might reasonably assume that would make Universe an unholy mess but Monsterworks somehow melds everything together. At heart, the music on Universe is sort of a Black Metal version of a cross between Warrior Soul and Pink Floyd. Think Nothingface-era Voivod and you'll start to understand how different this stuff is, not that Monsterworks sounds much more than superficially like the Canadian legend. It is a formula that worked pretty well on Earth but doesn't translate the same way on Universe. It is almost like there was simply too much happening on this new album (with a title like Universe, that's hardly surprising). All I can really remember after listening is just how weird it was to hear Black Metal vocals segue into a chorus you might hear on a song by the Byrds.

Monsterworks seems to be a band set on challenging their listeners without beating them over the head with technical playing the way a band like Cynic does. I commend them for trying to be different. It just worked a lot better on the last album.

Other related information on the site
Review: Black Swan Annihilation (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Earth (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Man :: Instincts (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Overhaul (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: Scale and Probability (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: The Existential Codex (reviewed by MetalMike)
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