Saille – Gnosis


Stirring from a creeping lilt into a frictional sprawl, Symphonic Black Metal artisans Saille usher in their fourth album, Gnosis. Its predecessor, Eldritch (both Aural/code666) made great strides to establish this cerebral aggressor as an act of pedigree and violence; a burgeoning reputation that this darker, more ferocious offspring will serve only to further.Continue reading


Monuments – The Amanuensis


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Alongside the likes of Textures and TesseracT, Monuments were one of the driving forces of djent during the movements’ initial explosion, back when it little more than an online community. In the following years, djent became huge news with bands such as TesseracT, Uneven Structure and Chimp Spanner taking the world by storm whilst Monuments were yet to release their debut album. Finally in 2012 Gnosis saw the light of day (with guest work from Chimp Spanner’s Paul Ortiz) with the band having a lot of ground and momentum to recover, but a set of songs that rightfully put them in the top crop of such acts.

 

Two years on and the band have a new album in The Amanuensis (Century Media), a new vocalist in ex-Periphery vocalist Chris Barreto, and, as a result, somewhat of an evolution to their palette. Chris’ vocals vastly improve on Matt Rose’s, with a range, diversity and bravery akin to Mike Patton. The typical transition between soaring singing and growls are present and done to a top level while elsewhere there are hints at his experimentation. ‘Saga City’ for example begins with a near gospel like soulful vocal passage before the song erupts.

 

The rest of the band seems rejuvenated by the new presence at front. As brilliant as Gnosis was, it did prove fairly straightforward with a more limited vocalist (well, as straightforward as a prog metal band can be), but here they are beginning to feel unshackled. Musically there is no huge departure from before, songs still have that recognisable tone and are founded on massive melodic passages and chugging riffs, but a wealth of ideas is beginning to creep through. Final track ‘Samsara’ brings the whole album concept full circle with a lyrical repetition of opener ‘I, The Creator’, a chanted incantation over a moody folky back drop.

 

The Amanuensis offers some of the bands most memorable and best songs such as ‘I, The Creator’ and ‘Garden Of Sankhara’ and the only niggle here is the thought of how much further they could take their sound now they have a vocalist with a huge dynamic and near seamless delivery. The Amanuensis is a bar-setter for djent, and still it only hints at the possibilities of what these guys can offer.

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9.0/10.0

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CHRIS TIPPELL