“Tragedy Holds The Hand Of Hope” was not very impressive; Monarch’s new self-titled LP starts out with a tad bit more promise. Dan’s vocals stand a little farther out from the instrumentation, and the instrumentation is a little more varied between tracks. This time there is a certain ability of the band that shows through: the ability to connect with their audience. Monarch’s music, especially the very linear “Apparition” could totally be reconstructed in a club with slam-dancing, crowding into the microphone and a legion of sore necks the next day. There is much less reliance on a formula this go-around, with hair-metal being the main focus of tracks like “Harlot”. Of course, there are some overarching sounds that are present throughout the disc, such as the double-bass hits of Joel. This album also does not stop to take a rest: barely thirty minutes go by between start and finish, and the band has really tautened up their sound in just the space of a year.
What is perhaps the largest success of Monarch during this album is the shortness present in each of the tracks. Gone are the longer tracks (save for Last Song) that were breeding grounds for repetition and ennui on the last disc. Even the largely-instrumental “Last Song”, previously mentioned is differing enough in regards to itself that individuals can continue listening without having to the skip the track. What follows is a track that is more emotionally-charge than many of the ones it followed. Monarch really gets back into the swing of things with “Lay With Me”, a track that shows Monarch’s desire to successfully couple a punk attitude towards the track length and tempo of the track with the proper metal influence on the general sound of the disc.
Monarch has honestly done a 180 since their “Tradegy Holds The Hand of Hope” disc; this is compelling, more metal than hardcore music, replete with sizzling guitars , double-basses and pit-worthy music throughout. This self-titled album is a perfect example of where a band should be evolutionarily in the space of a year, playing now at a level that most bands could never even hope to maintain after being together two years. This is simply the current-era’s defining album, both enormously influenced by the current hit-makers in the scene but also expansive on that same general theme. This will be an album sought out in the next 15 years that will be indicative of the heights of this hardcore-esque style of music.
Top Tracks: Lay With Me, Harlot
Monarch – S/T / 2005 Pop Faction / 10 Tracks / http://www.popfaction.com/monarch / http://www.popfaction.com / Reviewed 13 May 2005