Released: 2000, Independent
Reviewer: Michael De Los Muertos
Monument is a new band from Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, and their album THE MILLENNIAL DEATH OF GOD ought to have pathological metal-classifiers scratching their head. It seems an equal hybrid of death and thrash metal, and the uneasy balance between these elements in their music makes the album worth a listen. Monument, while not exactly exploding with innovation, at least has something to offer besides limp washing machine riffs and boring vocals of the all-too-familiar “Roo roo roo!” variety.
On the death metal side of the ledger, you’d definitely want to make note of guitars that often dwell in the lower ranges, and song structures that remind me a lot of other Midwestern death bands. However, there are a lot of thrash elements to be heard as well, and with a few tweaks this album might not have been too out of place coming out in the late 80s. The march-like opening of “Truth,” for example, had me thinking (oddly enough) of those weird, short-lived innovative thrash bands like Slauter Xstroyes who, while rooted in thrash, never succumbed to merely copying the San Francisco or L.A. scenes. Monument vocalist Kurt Callaway has wisely chosen not to enter the death growling sweepstakes, already bursting with Johnny-come-latelys, and instead uses what sounds to me like a fairly traditional 80s thrash shouting style. It gets a little dull toward the end of the album, but at least the vocals are intelligible and not merely background noise. Guitars show great promise especially in slower sections – there’s one in the fourth track, “Hollow,” that I liked very much. In the meantime, the shredding is business as usual. The title track is probably the best one on this album, and most of the really good stuff is up front. The album has a tendency to drag in its later reaches.
Monument certainly has the technical prowess to deliver hard-hitting and interesting albums. Areas of sharpening would probably be in the conceptual and songwriting phase, because the musicians are very competent. It’s far from perfect, but THE MILLENNIAL DEATH OF GOD is a fairly solid effort.
Send $10 check or money order to: Monument, P.O. Box 892991, Oklahoma City, OK 73189, or check out their web site at http://www.monumetal.com