Californian thrash metal merchants Monarch certainly know how to whip up a moshpit-ready whirlwind of noise! Their new album, Future Shock, scheduled for release on April 16th through your preferred music vendor, is one of the best of it’s type I’ve heard in a while, that’s for certain.

At their most melodic, on the great tracks Khaos Warrior and Shred Or Die! the sound musically isn’t that far away from their Canadian cousins Stryker; the difference being the manic vocals of Matt Smith, who has a gravel-paved throat more in line with what you’d expect from a modern thrash vocalist. Ripping tracks Nuclear Warfare and Collision of Bones show off his mad vocal skills to their very best, but for the most part of this album the band pitch themselves somewhere between these two camps, never afraid to bring melody to the table but preferring pretty much to focus on delivering high velocity thrashing, just the way you like it.

My Sentinel Daily colleague Michael Stronge told me he thought that overall the band were closer to Euro bands like Evil Invaders, and that’s true to a point; they retain their North American edge on the heavier tracks I’d say, especially on the needles-in-the-red madness of Swarm of the Whorenet. The mix of the two approaches makes a sound that’s got all the bases pretty comprehensively covered.

Smith plays guitar too, alongside Casey Trask, and they make a formidable team, whilst Adam West (no, not that Adam West…) steers the band rhythmically more than capably alongside bassist Gabe Mendez. These guys are no slouches – just listen to the instrumental mid section of …Whorenet; I tell you, they could give Megadeth a run for their money in the technically-superior-melodic-thrash stakes!

I hadn’t heard of these guys before this album was passed to me for review – but I’m a big fan now, and I think you might be too if you give Future Shock a listen.