Monarch – Future Shock

Roaring into battle on their second full length album, SoCal based thrashers Monarch (not to be confused with about 4 other bands out of the U.S. with the same name and pretty much the same genre) have done something very interesting on their latest effort: somehow they’ve managed to fuse technicality and prog in the basic thrash formula. Right off the start with ‘Blast The Seed’ from the way the guitar riffs just take off along with the drums one can tell this isn’t the typical Slayer or Megadeth worship here, though the vocals tend to sound a bit typical for thrash. There is plenty of groove in the mix and as the song carries on the more tried and true thrash colors show with speed driven riffs and those ever familiar dueling solos, but even then with the drum tones and jazzy bits here and there from the bass, there is still a lot of technical bits lumped in. Other tracks like ‘Khaos Warrior’ again use the guitars for technical moments here and there before seeping back into the more basic chug riffs, but it will make listeners wonder if they are listening to Monarch sometimes or Children Of Bodom (minus the keyboards).

For those looking for basic down and dirty thrash, ‘Nuclear Warfare’ or the mantra catching ‘Shred Or Die!’ has no frills- just riffs upon riffs without any jazzy moments whatsoever and heavily melodic solos. On the downside a lot of the instruments feel lost versatility, like the drums, which seemed to have a lot more life in them on the earlier tracks. Then we get to ‘Multiverse’ which brings back the prog elements with its instrumental driven tune, mixing acoustic with electric moments and almost touching on doom with its tones while trying to come off as depressing but fails as it is just too energy charged; still interesting nonetheless. After this it seems like Monarch is pretty much done with their progressive elements and the rest of the album tends to fall in line with the usual thrashing sound that is more akin to the likes of a group like Exodus. However, that doesn’t mean the band doesn’t have any more surprises to give. On ‘Collision Of Bones’ they switch up the vocal delivery by opting for some death metal driven growls, all in support of the technical guitar work that they refuse to give up on.

Monarch grant listeners one last big of jazzy, technical dosage on ‘Swarm Of The Whorenet’ which is a biting, yet very catchy track which falls more into the heavy metal territory or even modern metal along the lines of groups such as Machine Head with the rather drawn out, mid paced riffs and less focus on speed and solos. Some of the riffs tend to become a little repetitive, but towards the end of the track things speed right back up. Finally with ‘Metal Soul’ the group settles on a rather classic sound with modern touches for thrash metal; oddly enough while not featuring the best riffs (but making up for it with solos), it instead features some of the best drumming- fast, attentive, and not buried by riffs. It would be a track to make Judas Priest proud. Ultimately, Monarch’s second effort is catchy and driving in every way, even if some of the curveballs thrown here and there seem out of place for the thrash genre. It isn’t as ‘weird’ as say a Primus album, but those who are a bit tired of the usual thrash formula may find “Future Shock” a breath of fresh metal to their ears as the group tries to add some unconventional elements- whether intentional or not- to make themselves heard loud and clear.

4 / 5 STARS

Self released
Reviewer: Colin McNamara

Apr 22, 2021

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Monarch – Future Shock

review Monarch - Future Shock

1. Blast The Seed
2. Khaos Warrior
3. Future Shock
4. Nuclear Warfare
5. Shred Or Die!
6. Multiverse
7. Fatal Vector
8. Collision Of Bones
9. Swarm Of The Whorenet
10. Metal Soul

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