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'The 5th Sun'
(Napalm Records)
Release Date: 25th October 2013

Gary 'Rockulus' Clarke

Rockulus Maximus

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Pack your bags once more as you and I travel the globe. The picturesque surroundings of Switzerland are the location of Monkey3. Describing themselves as a Psychedelic Stoner band, this four-piece present a collection of compositions that are loaded with many melodic directions and incorporate various textures to spice things up.

With musical arrangements that hint at Porcupine Tree or Pink Floyd in places, this is an interesting album to tackle as a listener. Forget lyrical foreplay; focus on the drums, bass, guitar and keys as they all unite. You get all you need to know by listening to the first track 'Icarus' which connects segments of accessible music and ends up at around 15 minutes in length.

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Distorted guitar is prominent throughout this album, but doesn't take away anything from the other instruments. Light and shade both get to make appearances on 'The 5th Sun'. Haunting female sounding vocals drift in and out of the stormy drama in 'Birth Of Venus' which reminds the listener that this isn't a straight forward gathering of six Rock music instrumentals.

Maybe this album would be a good companion when driving under the cover of darkness? When you hear 'Pintao' which has the air of a theme from a spy movie or the gradual increase of tension throughout 'Suns' to a steady, driving tempo, you can imagine driving to these as a backdrop to the adventure experienced on the road.

Is it just me that finds an album complements a certain mood or activity? 'The 5th Sun' is an example of what I'm trying to convey. It is undoubtedly Rock music but simply emphasising the instrumental collaboration and tight-knit chemistry from the players. No words to distract but a strong sense of melody rears up from time to time offering a catchy tune that might well become hooked in the mind if your guard is down.

In other words, it is a soundtrack to unfolding events or emotive moments more than it is an album to switch on and listen to when washing the pots, or simply taking a bath.

Monkey3 as a unit really work well together as 'Circles' saunters along with a laid back vibe before going through the gearbox and raising the volume on the wall of sound. Flowing into epic territories and surpassing the seven minute mark, 'Circles' closes the album.

Preceding this final composition is the nine minutes or so that is named 'Once We Were...' It's in your face from the very first riff. Accompanied at one point by a slightly audible voice that is swamped by the angry intention of the music, it suddenly decides that the rolling riff and fellow instruments should chill out just under the four minute mark. Looming shadows and a tone of darkness add to the ominous mood. The power is brought back to the fray as the song reaches its triumphant and overblown climax.

'The 5th Sun' is a journey from start to finish and won't be everybody's cup of tea. Musicians and deep thinking individuals, people who wish to escape the rat race for a few moments whilst taking a relaxing smoke will all find a home with this album. Casual fans of Rock music in all of its guises will perhaps be best advised to avoid.

It's a heavy trip which cranks up the intensity to break the surface of the mellow, and then on other occasions takes you to heights of strong melody lines which soar above the underlying musical drama. Lock the brain down if you're brave enough to embrace the emotive textures and progressive musical nature of this audio beast.

1. Icarus
2. Suns
3. Birth Of Venus
4. Pintao
5. Once We Were...
6. Circles

Walter - drums
Picasso - bass
Boris - guitar
dB - keys

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