Yes that is right, in one of the craziest bands not on a label situations I can think of in recent times this is indeed self-released. I had the pleasure of interviewing singer Marcela just after they parted ways with previous label Napalm and asked her what had happened and was told “I would rather not say why but I can tell you that we are looking for a new label for our new album because we really believe in the material that we have got and we want to make sure that it is delivered the best way possible.” Whatever happened they obviously did not get the deal they were looking for and decided to go it alone and any label that considered and did not take them up should be kicking themselves as the material that was mentioned was well worth believing in and is every bit as good as promised.
As ‘Monster’ spellbinds from the first notes it’s an instantly recognisable sound and the progressive twists and turns are beefed right up settling down as those beautiful vocals join in. I have to say the production here is fantastic, even on computer speakers this sounds amazing, better than a lot of big label stuff that comes through them. Melody is naturally one of the foremost things that make this band so great to me and in this first number it is literally monstrous (to coin a cliché) as it swirls away. Delicate piano keys tinkle in the slow parts and then it all explodes around Marcela’s natural sounding rafter hitting high parts. “Natural” is a key word to be used, there is no need to go down the operatic route here and send everything over the top, nothing is forced and it is all the better for it. The title track illustrates this perfectly with a catchy beguiling chorus and a dreamy feel about it wafting away and completely captivating. It’s no one woman show and the hefty muscular musicianship makes this more than evident as it bangs away on ‘The Curse.’ The drumming is bombastic and bass sound is meaty and well defined. This one has some serious head banging parts to it and along with the powerful chorus is no doubt going to deliver the goods fantastically when the band take it on tour with Xandria.
Only three songs in out of 13 and already it is a near impossible task choosing anything resembling a favourite. Quality is enforced throughout and even anything resembling a ballad like the lush ‘Autophobia’ is equally welcomed especially as it has a storm very much at its heart. There is no lack of ideas, every song has its own personality and identity, something that is going to pull you in and devour you in one way or another. It’s one of those albums where the track currently playing is the favourite and that’s definitely the sign of a good one. Some numbers stand out as being ones to deliver live for maximum payload such as the burgeoning swagger of ‘Burning Star’ others such as ‘Delirio’ literally blow away with its tumultuous “passion,” sung in Spanish making it all the more compelling. This is an album absolutely crammed with emotion and it is a delight to listen to; something I have been doing constantly since it arrived and one that like the rest of their work is completely addictive and near impossible to put down. The way things build from fragile beginnings on ‘Don’t Let Go’ to huge explosive peaks both musically and vocally show expert song craft and really draw you into the depths of the number. Add some sultry spoken word parts and a scorching guitar solo and it’s a formidable and giddy listen.
This is a war that has a clear victor and it’s an album I will be putting my money where my mouth is and picking up when I see the band on tour next month. Power and passion, through and through and high mark completely deserved.
(9/10 Pete Woods)