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Review: Monolith – Nexus

Monolith is a Symphonic Metal band from Ontario, Canada. The current line-up is: Michael Gallant (vocals), Colin Parrish (guitar), and Colin Nafziger (drums). Since this band’s formation in 2008, they have released three albums: Monolith, Voyager, and Nexus.

The first track, Origin, starts the album off with a great orchestral piece. It makes you feel like the album is going to be awesome. Surprisingly, there is a head banging riff and a solo incorporated with the orchestral instruments. I was not expecting the clean vocals, but they are a nice addition. I’m a big fan of synchronized vocals and it was pretty interesting to hear clean vocals synchronized with screams. This song has some solid guitar solos in it, so be sure to check those out.

Engineers is up next with the instruments and vocals starting right away. There is a sweet lead guitar playing in the background around 20 seconds in. Around one minute in, there is a pretty interesting “techno” piece (for lack of a better word). The short drum fill around 1:35 is sick. Overall this is another solid song by Monolith.

I really like the lead guitar in the intro to Fugitive. It’s surprising and seems to break the normal flow of the album. The high screams around 1:50 really caught my attention because that seems to be the first time we hear them in this album. There is some more nice lead guitar work around 2:15.

Darkness Visible starts with a unique combination of heavy chords and an orchestral piece. I love the lead guitar around 0:45. There is a deep riff nearing the end of the song, so check out that.

Nearing the halfway point of this album, Psychomachia kicks off with some nice lead guitar work. The intro has a very “happy” feel to it, which I found rather interesting. The vocals start with cleans, which I was not expecting. This song has a surprisingly large amount of clean vocals, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing. I like how they try to keep the listener interested by having cleans appear throughout the album.

The second longest song of the album, Pandaemonium, begins with an eerie tune then proceeds to the band’s usual heaviness. I really like the drums in this song. They stand out the most in this song. The vocals are also great. There are cleans, normal mids, and highs. I also like the rhythm from the guitars nearing the end of this song.

Compassion starts out with a sick guitar riff. It sets the pace of the song. The melody that is in this song is great. I like the frequent use of orchestral instruments that are in this track. I was very surprised that a breakdown did not occur around 2:10 but instead a solo did. Based on the rhythm guitars before the solo, I was expecting a breakdown.

Ninth Hour is up next with a nice lead guitar. I like how they alternate between the rhythm and lead guitars in this section. I really enjoyed the solo around 1:20. The guitarist really knows his stuff. This is another solid track by Monolith.

I found the drums in Enmity to be great. They really caught my attention. The drummer has a nice amount of fills and provides the listener with complex beats. Nearing the latter half of the song, the guitars have a djent feel to them (2:15-2:30).

Search beings with a very nice instrumental piece. About a minute in, the vocals start out with a sick high. I like how they added a lot more instruments/technology to this song than just the standard instruments. I am impressed with the lead guitar that accompanied the vocals around 2:28-2:38. The breakdown-type riff that occurs at 2:49 is great. It’s great how they can create sick leads and hard-hitting riffs. There is a lot of lead guitar playing in this song, so be sure to give it a listen.

Vocally, Oracle is a very interesting song. It contains female and male clean singing parts which is a nice addition to this album. 2:12-2:29 is a sick part. The orchestra instruments play along with the vocals in an exciting way. It’s nice to see them experimenting with vocals in this song.

The last song of this album, Vision, is a surprisingly almost 9 minute song. The beginning of this song breaks the typical heaviness of the album. Around two minutes in the heaviness starts up again. I’m very impressed with how fast the drummer can play. I like how they alternate between cleans and screams. 4:36-4:56 is pretty surprising based on the way the guitar sounds.

This album is definitely one of my favorite releases this year. There is plenty of lead guitar work. They experiment with different vocals. The drummer does a great job providing the listener with sick fills and beats. There are more instruments involved than just your standard ones. I would give this album a 9.3 out of 10.

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