Monsterholic – Anthems for the Bullied

Monsterholic - Anthems for the Bullied

Four-piece band hailing from Spain, Monsterholic is a curious beast. In fact, although tagged alternative/prog metal, their music doesn’t follow the beaten paths of this genre and the diversity of the material makes it hard to put in a specific box.

Although metal elements abound, fortunately more groovy and catchy than flashy and complex, we sense a strong need from vocalist/keyboardist, Alex Calero, to push the boundaries of the genre. And in order to understand how this open-mindedness is reflected in their music, let’s focus on the keyboards in a first instance. These can wander in classical music realm (the solemn “Anthem” and the slight baroque themes opening “Kentucky Kabuki” and closing “Iron”). More surprisingly, they can sound like diphonic Mongolian songs (that’s no kidding, in “Daymare”, “The process of leverage” and “Smartass”, Alex probably wanted the notes coming from his Korg keyboard to be an extension of his voice). In a different range, keyboards can shape a dance theme (“Enter the hero”) or be more pensive (“Portrait of a weeping lady”). Besides, programmations offer a variety of electronic music facets : synth-pop (“Kentucky Kabuki”), EBM (“Bullied”), electro-indus (“Underground industry” and once again “Kentucky Kabuki”). On a similar note, vocals also avoid falling in routine. “The process of leverage” alone gives an overview of the variety met: vocoderized, clean theatrical and harsh vocals in turn. But as if this profusion were not enough, indus-like processed vocals pop up in “Kentucky Kabuki” and “Underground industry”, and on the other side Alex can sing in a smooth whispering style in “Bullied”.

One might think that bringing together so many various musical ideas might make it indigestible or sound too experimental. Besides, the feeling would be that of a cultural clash. And actually, it’s quite the opposite. The band, and especially Alex Calero, managed to organize perfectly elements of their broad musical canevas and their performance is brillant, always keeping in mind the listeners’ pleasure and not their ego, and devoid of any amateurism. With its surprising and unexpected blend of metal music and electronic vibes, ‘Anthems for the bullied’, like Bill Laswell’s Praxis twenty years before them or nowadays their compatriots of Cheeto’s Magazine, is a proof that music has no boundaries, and that it is still the best example of tolerance.

Tracklist:

01. Anthem
02. Daymare
03. The Process of Leverage
04. Kentucky Kabuki
05. Underground Industry
06. Smartass
07. Portrait of a Weeping Lady
08. Enter the Hero
09. Bullied
10. Iron

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