01. Freelance Terror
02. My Urge To Kill
03. The Ugliest Joke
05. Sin Spitter
06. Saw Blade
07. The Traveler
08. Head Pile
09. The Children Of The Riot
[False Prophet Records]
So let’s air the dirty laundry then. Monsters are the first band signed to False Prophet Records, the label owned by Emmure‘s Frankie Palmeri who may be quite possibly one of the most hated groups ever, next to bands like Limp Bizkit. Obviously, post-ironic beardcore this is not: it’s tough-guy deathcore. Now as time goes on, I find myself enjoying more and more tough-guy deathcore; bands like Defiler and Oceano, mostly because it’s just funny and so damn over the top. However, my main problem with it is that when I’m laughing I can’t tell; am I laughing with them or at them?
In the case of Monsters, I sincerely hope I’m laughing with them because, my god, this is ridiculous. Take for example “My Urge To Kill“. It kicks straight in with a fairly middle-of-the-road rhythmic riff and vocals that sound pretty interchangeable with many deathcore bands before segueing into what I can only describe as breakdowns and nu-metal style rapping. Even the rapped lyrics are pretty juvenile: “It’s always been my will to kill/And now you motherfuckers recognize my skill,” repeated ad infinitum, or even “Saw Blade” which layers hardcore shouts against spoken vocals (a gimmick that I feel is a little overdone) and contains a lot of riffs that are probably too technical for the hardcore kids who want to dance, and too simplistic for the people interested in musical ability.
So here we have record comprised of some of the most hated elements possible in metal: endless breakdowns; nu-metal rapping; tough-guy attitudes, and a couple of times they even use that pretend-to-be-really-angry-by-breathing-heavily-into-the-mic thing, popularized by bands like KoRn and Slipknot. Surely in the writing process they realized that four wrongs don’t make a right? But I think that’s what I like about this album: the balls – the sheer audacity it has to even exist. This really feels like a record made by a group that just really didn’t care how this record would be received – kind of like Winds Of Plague‘s Decimate The Weak.
I think it’s a shame that this album contains so many blemishes that will just give people an easy excuse to hate it, because every now and then they lock into a really good groove more reminiscent of their 2009 EP The Righteous Dead. Opener “Freelance Terror” sounds more like a primal Despised Icon than anything to do with Emmure, and “Sin Spitter” is by far the best track on the album, if you don’t mind a breakdown or five. Despite its ride on the chugga-chugga-train, it’s still remains rhythmically quite interesting and is probably one hell of a fun live track.
So overall I’m at a crossroads with this album, it’s starting to feel like it falls into the ‘so bad it’s good’ category which is kind of unfortunate. As to whether this is tongue-in-cheek or not, well they play live with personalised raincoats on… Therefore, by extrapolating the hip-hop elements from this album to the next, I’m expecting the follow up to contain hits such as “Macking With A Mac On“.
This album is everything that is wrong with metal and yet it’s not as bad as it should be, so it brings up the question of whether a reviewer should score his albums based on his own personal thoughts, or skew the score based on how he knows it will received by the majority. As a rule of thumb you probably won’t like this, but while it wasn’t as good as previous material, I thought this was average at worst.
Monsters’ Monsters gets: