Richard G. : People who say that they got into metal via Meshuggah are either liars, or really sick bastards. Before your taste has sunk to the depraved, otherworldly level of the Swedish math metal originators (an objective that more people should strive for), you have already gone through many, many stages of aural self mutilation. One advantage of the rise of the awful djent genre is that people are now being offered a short cut to the extremities offered by Kidman and co. For some reason the youngest metal sub genre appeals to the younger generations. And if in 95% of the reviews reference is made to Meshuggah, it should be just a matter of time before 'Future Breed Machine' reaps yet another soul.
The shortest short cut is being offered by Monuments, the newest addition to the Century Media roster. On 'Gnosis', their debut, they constantly shift between colossal polyrhythmic escapades and raspberry-honey drenched cotton candy choruses. Ok, they are still far removed from bubble-gum pop, but the clean vocals by Matt Rose seem to be built on three rather dubious pillars: Muse, emo rock and pop punk. If it wasn't for the regular sessions of good growling, I would have had trouble finishing 'Gnosis' in one listen.
The sad thing about Monuments is that these super sweet vocals (at least for yours truly) overshadow the instrumental performance by the band. From all Meshuggah-influenced groups, these Brits are the most tasteful example I have encountered until now. The angular riffs groove like there's no tomorrow and they are not competing with the rest of the bunch trying to qualify for a spot in the polyrhythmic Olympics. If you try really hard to ignore the clean wailing, you will notice that the 'simplistic' passages (generally speaking, the choruses and bridges) function really well between the technical parts and you cannot but conclude that 'Gnosis' is actually a well-balanced, well-composed modern metal record.
It should be seen as a compliment that where 99% of the gateway djent metal bands should (will!) be swallowed by oblivion once their listeners discover Meshuggah, I actually believe that Monuments will manage to keep a place in the playlists. People with a high tolerance for commercial vocal lines can add at least 20 points to the score below.