Thursday, 7 March 2013

Discovery: Monks of Mellonwah - Breakout

Monks of Mellonwah are an Australian quartet that cite Led Zeppelin, Muse, Pink Floyd and the Red Hot Chili Peppers as influences. They're not one of those bands that play simply rock. Lead guitarist Joseph de la Hoyde also arranges orchestral instrumentals, in the style of drama, cataclysmic and energetic scores. And although these arrangements haven't been recorded in Abbey Road Studios, they're worthy of attention. Tracks one and three on Monks of Mellonwah's EP Sky & The Dark Night are compositions made arranged by Hoyde. What we hear in is of no interest to me as it's where the influence of Muse clashes with rock, and I'm not a fan of muse or anything Muse related. Scrap Vikram Kaushik vocals and Joshua Baissari's bass, or get rid of the arrangements made by Hoyde. Bands with an orchestral side and a rock side are too often categorised under the symphonic metal tag. When operating as a full band, On "Control" Monks of Mellonwah sound like a down  under version of Nightwish, not The Resistance / The 2nd Law Muse.

Sky & The Dark Night was recorded at Aston Villa Studios in New South Wales. The name of a poor Premier League football club, for some reason... It's not that this alternative Australian quartet are bad musicians, the listener can clearly hear that they're not. When it all comes together, I feel lost and uninspired. The lyrics, instrumentals and structures mean and show no signs of something interesting - which is why I'm picking apart the full band and singling out Hoyde's arrangements.

"Breakout" has it's own melody, if it was for a film, would be repeated and re-hashed constantly throughout in a Hans Zimmer style. it does have it's flaws, for instance the sounds have been made using a computer and not the real thing, which bugs me about orchestral sounds. Second, this sound is lazy and can be replicated rather easily using basic music production software, it really can. On the plus side, "Breakout" has an epic feel to it - "It sounds like a build-up to a big Rugby match," says a friend, nicely put. It opens with bass, and then the string stabs enter and the dramatic feel begins to take place. Monks of Mellonwah can operate as an alternative rock band, such as with "Neverending Spirit". I don't like the vocals and the production mix is too alike 90s American alternative. I'd like to hear more from Hoyde in terms of arrangements, but as for Monks of Mellonwah, no. It doesn't have the passion, grabbing features or decent vocals to gain my personal attention, however it would be liked by an American audience and I can see the quartet hitting the states soon with this music.

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