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MonstrO – Self-titled (Archive Album Review)

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On the surface it’s easy to see why so many people are considering Atlanta’s MonstrO to be just another solider in an army of classic rock revivalists. While the band certainly raises a flag for big rock riffs, ground-shaking drums, low-end groove, and arena-echoing vocals, they have a lot more in common with the 90’s than the 70’s. In their own bio, the band drops nods to BLACK SABBATH and PINK FLOYD, but what’s really telling is the inclusion of SOUNDGARDEN and MARK LANEGAN in their stable of influences. On their self-titled debut (out this week on Vagrant Records), there’s a lot of Seattle by way of Georgia in there, along with other elements of the 90’s indie rock sound.

With current ALICE IN CHAINS vocalist and Atlanta native William DuVall at the helm, MonstrO is a rock record recorded the way that a rock record should be – two weeks in the studio and done. A lot of the guitar sounds recall the MELVINS, while the melodies certainly do have a SCREAMING TREES-esque quality about them.  Fantasma opens the album by channeling the Sub Pop sound of the ‘GARDEN with raw energy and psychedelic refrains – its heavy as hell. There’s a groove on Solar that feels a little bit like MOTORHEAD, but things slow down for Elizabeth to enter the room with more of that melodic jangle.  I’ll be damned if the 8-minute+ album closer April doesn’t channel early SMASHING PUMPKINS just a bit.

Bottom Line: MonstrO is one of the first bands that I’ve heard to successfully bring back the feelings inspired by some of the great early 90’s alternative rockers without sounding dated, nor like an imitation. While there’s some channeling taking place, none of the songs sound exactly like the influences. MonstrO is a great rock record that should easily stand the test of time.

The Rock Father Rating: 4.5 out of 5 Stars

FTC Disclosure: A Digital Copy of MonstrO was provided to The Rock Father for Review Consideration by Vagrant Records. The opinion presented above is that of James Zahn. Agree or Disagree as you choose. 

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