Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Monument – Renegades

Monument is a relatively new traditional heavy metal band hailing from the UK. This band features a couple of ex-members of White Wizzard (though what band doesn’t at this point?), as well as a few other well-experienced musicians. With their debut album “Renegades”, Monument has provided nearly 48 consecutive minutes of non-stop harmonies. It’s almost astounding how much this band harmonizes their guitar lines, and it is one of two major highlights on the album. The other great element of “Renegades” is vocalist Peter Ellis. While extremely talented, it is his distinctive sound that drives this album. It’s not entirely clean relative to a more traditional singer, but he is obviously very understandable.

Another aspect of “Renegades” that is extremely compelling is how distinctive the songs are, despite all being of the same form. The opening title track kicks off with a thrashy riff that is the most aggressive moment of the record. Other tracks such as “Runaway” and “Save Me” are more laid back, and have these huge Thin Lizzy-esque moments in them. The closer, “Omega” is an epic journey that does an impressive job of summing up the record while still adding something new to the album. In fact, “Omega” shows full-on “Seventh Son of a Seventh Son” worship as there is an interlude that is completely driven by the bass guitar with some spoken words over top. The two best tracks, however, are “Midnight Queen” and “Carry On”. The former gets by on its infectious chorus, while the latter is driven by a harmony so good that it feels like the band stole it from an unrecorded Iron Maiden song circa ’83. This part is especially potent because one guitar comes in first, and then the other one joins, with the drums kicking things up through the use of double bass later on. 

The production on “Renegades” is pretty good; the bass drums are huge, and Monument’s drummer actually uses an impressive amount of double bass on some of the more laid-back tracks (“Crusaders” has a great example). Because there are so many guitar harmonies, this allows the bass guitar to step up to fill the void, and the mix does an excellent job of leaving space for some Steve Harris worship. One slight area of criticism is that some of the melodies on “Renegades” feel all too familiar. The verse riff of “Runaway” is one that comes to mind, though I can’t quite figure out who it sounds like. The obvious example to me, however, was the verse riff of “Rock The Night”, which some of the same guitar flares that were used by Enforcer on one of the songs from “Diamonds”. Nonetheless, it doesn’t feel like Monument were out to copy anyone; this is more just the result of everybody wanting to be Iron Maiden (and who can fault them?). There’s absolutely no reason to skip on this record if you’re a fan of heavy metal! Monument’sRenegades” will definitely be looked back on as an absolute classic!

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"Midnight Queen"
"Carry On"

Final Rating
4.5/5 or 90%. 

Written by Scott 

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