Brit metal unit Monument are back for a third tilt at the crown, and, though there are still a few glitches and blips to be worked through, the band really do sound like they might be up for promotion to metal’s Premier League in the near future.
Those glitches and blips first: Pete Ellis is a fine singer, I don’t think anybody reading this that knows Monument would disagree. However at times is vocal style is so highly mannered you’d think he was singing on some sort of Stars in their Eyes ‘Tribute to Iron Maiden‘ show. The Dickinson mannerisms are just a bit too much at times, especially if you listen to the album in one go. Elsewhere, a paucity of imagination in the lyrical department leads to songs with titles like Creatures of the Night, Attila, Wheels of Steel and Nightrider, all of which have been used before by bands working in a similar theatre of musical operations. For me that’s a problem. And then there’s the strange use of lyrics from Judas Priest in the track Nightrider…
Anyways, these two small things shouldn’t spoil your enjoyment of what is otherwise an invigorating and respectful trawl through the tropes and mores of the NWoBHM. Monument clearly love this style of music, and bringing in Iron Maiden associate Tony Newton to produce the record was a masterstroke. He captures the essence of sound that the band are striving to create perfectly; so much so that you’ll find it easy to believe that exciting tracks like The End might actually have been written in 1982, such is the attention to sonic detail.
At the end of the day, this is a trad metal record, made to be enjoyed, and enjoyable it certainly is. Creatures of the Night is an infectious slice of melodic metal well worth checking out despite it’s hackneyed title, and the two covers which are included in the deluxe version of the album – Rainbow’s Long Live Rock n’Roll and Iron Maiden’s Déjà Vu are handled with aplomb and skill.
If Monument stay on this trajectory then the future looks pretty bright for them – let’s hope they do!
Hellhound will be released on May 25th.