Videoclip of the Month!!!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Monumental Torment - Elements Of Chaos

Monumental Torment - Elements Of Chaos

Elements Of Chaos is Monumental Torments debut album. It was released in 2011 by Soul Flesh Collector Records. This album is of the technical death metal genre and it’s about 10 times more technical than your average band. They have really taken the genre to the next level, in terms of technicality the only band that seems to shape up to these guy with their technicality is Brain Drill. Monumental Torment sounds more like a distant cousin of Brain Drill but they do have some slight differences and traits that make them stand out.

The first thing to say about this album is the level of technicality in this album, it is definitely a level above the rest. The music is incredibly tight and obviously technical. They also have the characteristics of your generic technical death metal band. Your standard high pitch tuning of the guitars, a bass guitar with many strings and just to make it sound even more technical they have thrown in a keyboard to mix things up a little. Oh and of course, it has some insane drumming that any technical death metal band would be lost without. It has extremely fast drumming and even faster double kick. But there is one catch to this, they have used a drumming machine to generate all this because there is probably no drummer in the world that can drum like this. For all people who are against using drum machines might feel ripped off but hey, it’s the music that counts. If I were to compare the level of technicality to this band that first band that comes to mind is Brain Drill. There are a couple of slight differences though. Unlike Brain Drill there are times where these guys have gone over the top a little to the point where the music no longer makes sense. For some this might be a good thing and for others it might be bad. It’s all a matter of personal choice.

Although they are incredibly technical and brutal, they aren’t always like this. They do mix it up with some slower sections at times and slams. They didn’t really go for the slams as much, which is probably a good thing because it would have disrupted the flow of the music itself which is probably the most vital thing this band has to offer. Especially for these guys in particular because it’s such a small band. Although they don’t use that many slams or breakdowns in their music, there are times where it sounds incredibly heavy. The atmospheres they present when playing these sections are so damn heavy, it almost seems stupid not to head bang to them. They like to drags the notes out for a long time while playing these sections and the keyboardist switches to his bass guitar. Also the vocalist has pretty brutal guttural growl with seals the deal with the heaviness of the music. Even the drumming machine slows down quite a fair bit while these parts are on.

It’s vital in music and especially in technical death metal that all band members are sufficiently skilled to play in time so they don’t sound like a crumpled, out of time band. Although there are times where they sound like the band has thrown melody out the window and off a cliff, nothing really seems out of place, well… mainly because that this is technical death metal band which is what people want. To your average technical death metal band, Monumental Torment is far above the rest when it comes to technicality and brutality in the music.

One of the most evident parts in their music is the very high pitch. When I first heard this it seemed plausible that what were making this high pitch noise with the guitars, then I realised that there were keyboards playing. They have used a combination of both of these instruments to make the high pitch sound which are basically trademarks of authenticity for technical death metal. It also increases the level of technicality which is definitely Monumental Torments strong points. On its skin it initially sounds like your run of the mill technical death metal band where the only thing that is going for it is their technicality. After actually settling into the music, it’s apparent that they have really mixed things up a little. Even though it’s a major part of their music it’s not all brutality and technicality for these guys, there are times where they slow things down quite a bit. Make no mistake though, they don’t play boring breakdowns or slams, instead they transition into some extremely heavy atmosphere where it feels like the tension in the music is building up. These are some of the best parts of the album but they only last a couple of seconds at the most.

Another vital thing that these guys have managed to achieve is enough skill to play in such a demanding genre. The guitarist is absolutely incredible in the way he plays, he plays lightening fast with accuracy. I couldn’t even pick up any off or loose notes whiles listening to him play. It’s like he was born and bred to play technical death. The style he usually plays has absolutely no melody to it, he focuses on speed and complexity rather than melody. He likes to use higher pitches a lot more that lower ones. The guitaring is essentially the main highlight of this band and can be seasily confused with a keyboard, if Beethoven had played guitar this is what he would have sounded like. The vocals are also very good as well, the vocalist does his guttural growls extremely well and really suites their style of music. But he doesn’t leave much room for variety. He basically only uses one vocals style. Sometimes he might want to go deeper in the slower parts of the songs but rarely does this and he never goes high. Now this brings me to the drumming, the drumming is probably the instrument that defines a technical death metal band.

There is no technical death metal band in the world that has slow drumming and if there is one, the guitars must be good. Obviously there wasn’t a drummer that was hardcore enough to play what these guys wanted so they decided to use a drum machine. For some people, drum machines are despicable and any real band wouldn’t use them. In this case, I think that the use of a drum machine was a good choice. When listening to this, it doesn’t even seem like a drum machine, they have disguised it very well to make It seem like there is someone else on the other end.

Basically all the tracks on this album are fairly similar in the sense that they all have basic structure. They shift from technical to heavy over and over again. They don’t exactly leave themselves that much room for creativity. Also in terms of technicality, they are all fairly evenly weighted. There is nothing that really stands out but there are a couple of tracks worth mentioning. Like any good opening track Nameless One sets the scene for the rest of the album. This is one of the best tracks on the album, this is one of the few tracks on the album that has a little variety to them. They frequently switch from high to low tempos and just to spice things up they have added some piano playing which don’t seem to disrupt the flow of the music. Nameless one is a well crafted track and is one of the highlights of the album. Unfortunately this is where the variety ends, after the Nameless One you have already experienced the whole album.   Actually, the next track is Slaughterhouse and it is a step backwards from the opening track. It’s not even as technical as Nameless One, this is a bummer because they started off so strong only to be let down carelessness. It think that they have most likely rushed this album. It’s okay though because the technicality and brutality is still carried one. Although it seems like they have forgotten about melody in most of their tracks, the track Paradox is the most melodic one. It relatively slow compared to everything else on the album. Also it does differ a little from the others, they have used a different set of riffs and is definitely the standout track. Also sometimes the guitars sound like are computer are generated, they have a certain echo to them that some people may associate with cyberspace or something like that. For sheer technicality and brutality, the track Element of Chaos definitely takes top prize. It’s incredibly   fast and technical, it’s probably the fastest and most interesting song on the album.

Overall Elements Of Chaos is a pretty decent debut album, it features everything a technical death metal lover would want in their music. It has speed, technicality and it sure has complexity, not only that but they do mix it up with some extremely heavy sections as well some piano to give it that extra touch of variety. Unfortunately, it does feel like they have rushed this album and left them little space for variety and innovation. This band sounds just like a more disorganised version of Brain Drill which is not necessarily a bad thing. There aren’t many bands like this around that are of good quality to take the chance while you can. I recommend this album to any die hard technical death metal and brutal death metal fans because I don’t think this would really appeal to a wide audience. I also would like to recommend the track Nameless One for people who want a fair idea of what this band is like and what to expect. For people who like a little melody in their music, the best they have to offer is the track Paradox. Now for all you technical death metal addicts out there you cannot go past the track Elements Of Death, it is extremely technical and is sure to satisfy. Overall this is a pretty good release, it could have been refined but it’s still a solid album, there aren’t many bands like this around that are of good quality so take the chance while you can. Overall Monumental Torment’s  Elements Of Chaos gets a 16/20.

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