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Monkey3 - Welcome To The Machine review

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Band: Monkey3
Album: Welcome To The Machine
Style: Post rock, Psychedelic rock, Stoner rock
Release date: February 2024

01. Ignition
02. Collision
03. Kali Yuga
04. Rackman
05. Collapse

Each year there's bound to be at least one album that – appearing perfectly decent but somewhat nondescript on the first spin – slowly, over time, one nonchalant spin after the other, climbs its way up the ladder to become one of the top entries of the most-played albums' ranks. This Monkey3 album is one like that and, I must say, it isn't really the first of theirs to be doing so.

My first encounter with Monkey3 was almost 15 years ago at Hellfest and their instrumental set was among the more memorable ones that year. I've kept checking their albums out now and then but it's only after Long Distance Calling's Boundless left a perfect void to be filled the following year that Monkey3 really clicked with me. Their instrumental balance of post-metal, stoner, and psychedelia, paired with a perfect variation in compositions, appears to sit just right with me. That's not to say that everything's in equal measure but rather that it ebbs and flows across the spectrum in a natural fashion without really abusing the privilege in any single direction.

Perhaps it's the natural flow of their albums, but I often find the initial positive impression quick to cool. It's like it's so great overall that it feels, well, sort of round all around. It's hard to latch onto something in particular, whether good or bad. However, it's the mood and the atmosphere that they create that keep drawing me back in to cement their and the album's appeal in the long run. I keep returning for those great guitar leads morphing into those intense keyboard solos, and heavier riffs sitting firmly on the strong backbone of the rhythm section, supported by the moody ambiance, and even acoustic guitars that... You kind of get it, I suppose, it just keeps going and rotating through different phases on and on until suddenly it's over.

With a title like Welcome To The Machine hardly anyone could be faulted for assuming major Pink Floyd worship to be going on at least some of the time. Yet, even if not entirely unfounded, it would be a misleading and premature conclusion about the album. And here's sort of an interesting irony because it's all about, well, the conclusion, if you will. Going in with this expectation you'd be hard-pressed to find much relating to that title. If you go looking, there's often a nod to Pink Floyd to be found in Monkey3 because why wouldn't there be? But it's not enough to meet the said expectations. It's only when the fifth and final song "Collapse" rolls around that the aha moment comes. And it's a magnificent tune not least because of the sheer amount of various PF references scraped together into what almost starts to feel like an excellent puzzle.

Instrumental albums are often make-your-own-adventure as far interpretations go. Titles and illustrations are all we get for a hint on top of the music. So this album here, whether by design or an unconscious decision, manages to present an interesting juxtaposition pitting interpretation against cultural influence and expectations against the actual music. Piquing our interest in this fashion, other questions can start to follow, and a search for the answers and meaning can ensue. That's all on top of it just being a great album all in all.

Written on 10.07.2024 by I shoot people.

Sometimes, I also write about it.

And one day I'm going to start a band. We're going to be playing pun-rock.

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