The 5th Sun

Written by: BV on 30/12/2013 21:25:09

Hailing from Lausanne, Switzerland, Monkey3 is a musical unit which aficionados of instrumental stoner-rock might recognize, as they have long been compared to genre-greats like My Sleeping Karma as well as more progressive stuff like Porcupine Tree. With seven new compositions under their belt in the form of “The 5th Sun”, their fifth release, the band progresses further into the sonic realms of progressive instrumental stoner rock where vocals are obsolete and the interplay between the instrumentalists is of utmost importance.

Albeit vocals are superfluous, human voices can still be heard on the ambitious album opener “Icarus”. As the track progresses through its astounding 15 minute runtime, the dynamic grooves are of most importance, essentially keeping the listener engaged, or at least mildly interested, throughout the runtime. The incorporation of a throbbing electro-ambience makes for a rather ambitious soundscape that, perhaps, comes off quite a bit like the tale of Icarus himself, as the band tends to let their own ambitions fly too close to the sun, risking burning their wings and falling to heavily to the ground.

Luckily though, the band only cuts it close as the album opener recedes – leading into “Suns”, which has a startling space rock quality to it, making the whole thing seem quite a bit more scenic than “Icarus”, thus adding a greater depth to the sonic exploits of the band. The sound of the track is surprisingly light and ambient at times, as it never really becomes dark, heavy or sinister at any point – which I would half-expect a blend of stoner and space rock to become.

As the album approaches “Once We Were…” the soundscape stagnates a bit as the room for fretboard exploration has grown significantly in size – offering far more exploration than actual melody. It all comes to a halt though, as the slightly more melodic section of the track makes a grand entrance whilst cymbals are crashing and the guitar sound begins to thicken and become gradually heavier. Melodically speaking, the track soon begins to actually grow in significance but it is hardly as fascinating as “Suns” or “Birth of Venus” for that matter.

One could argue that the all-instrumental aspect of this album is something you’d definitely have to be in to before listening to this album. I’d say that would be about right. Some instrumental albums are easy to get into – this one though, this is for the aficionados and as such, it takes quite a few listens to really get it. Once you’ve got it though, you’ll probably realize (as I have) that this album is genuinely solid. Monkey3 are still not in the same league as Karma to Burn for me, personally, albeit they are getting closer. This is a solid effort, nothing less.


Download: Icarus, Suns
For the fans of: My Sleeping Karma, Luder, Causa Sui
Listen: Facebook

Release date 04.11.2013
Napalm Records

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