Jan-Simon : The guys from Monkey 3 do it again. ‘The 5th Sun’ could easily pass for another soundtrack for a movie that still needs to be made – and probably never will be made for that matter. Nevertheless, “cinematic” is probably the only fitting description for the instrumental stoner rock Monkey 3 makes.
This fifth album contains a lot of epic and compelling tracks, all with many smart time changes, quiet interludes and a lot of no holds barred full-throttle rock. Opening track ‘Icarus’ is a good example of this approach. It could easily be cut up and edited into three separate songs. In the grey past, the time of prog rock monsters such as Yes, Genesis and Gentle Giant, a song like this would have been indexed with letters a, b, c and so on. Monkey 3 did not do that, and although it would go a bit too far to compare them with these dinosaurs, on ‘The 5th Sun’ Monkey 3 sounds more prog than ever. If someone had told me ‘Pintao’ was actually an Emerson, Lake and Palmer track, I would have had my doubts at first, but in the end I would have believed it.
Monkey 3 is great at creating atmosphere and is that good at it, the lack of a singer is hardly noticed at all. Most of the time their music works even better without vocals, as could be found out on the cover album Undercover. For the flip side of the new single ‘Birth Of Venus, the Black Sabbath cover ‘Zero The Hero’, another guest vocalist was invited: Niklas Sjöberg of The Graviators. It is up to him to let us forget Ian Gillan. I have not heard the result as it is not on the album, but I think it will be a tough task. The digipack version of the album does contain a bonus track though. Real fans go for the digipack.
Monkey 3 proves with this new album to be one of the better players in the field of instrumental stoner rock, even though the stoner part becomes less with each new release.