Review of These Monsters' album Call Me Dragon
Long awaited debut from Leeds based rockers, These Monsters, consisting of Tommy Davidson on drums, Sam Pryor on guitar and singing, Ian Thirkill on bass guitar and Johnny Farrell on the sax. These guys have gained a fair following, and have been praised from the energy, power and concise nature of their live show. Having played with the likes of Russian Circles, These Arms are Snakes, Oceansize, 65daysofstatic, Mono, Envy, Health, The Whip, Foals, Youthmovies, iliketrains, Broken Records and the Fall.
Now, being a rock band, loath I am to call them metal, with a saxophonist you'd be forgiven for thinking beards, wizards and a less than apparent hygiene regime. But you'd be wrong. Times have changed, and in an era of wide berth plaudits like 'noise rock', 'art rock' being bandied around by all but a few reviewers and listeners alike, it would be easy to cast These Monsters into the depth of the post rock dungeon, but that would be plain lazy as burgeoning beneath the sound of this band is a superb technical ability and wealth of rock history.
Recorded at Foel Studios, in the depths of Wales surrounded by cats, and produced by Chris Fielding (Napalm Death, Electric Wizard, Primordial). 'Call Me Dragon' is an interestingly dark affair, with hefty riffs, powerhouse drumming and an all round cohesiveness that many modern prog and psych influenced bands fall short of.
'Call Me Dragon' the opening track bursts straight into a kind of ruthless energy that will echo throughout. An energy that is not only matched live, but bettered. Those of you akin with their live performances will note the crispness of the riffs. For some this may disappoint, but if, like me you revere technical ability over the level of distortion involved, then this will be a nice touch. There's an accessibility to 'Call Me Dragon', which for a prog influenced band is no mean fete.
Now, these guys have been likened to bands such as Mogwai and Tool, but this really sells them short. I'm not saying there isn't a vague common ground between the bands, but I'd look further back than that. I'm hearing King Crimson, a touch of Zappa, Chicago.much more to it that a simple carbon copy of other bands who have been marred by the terms post rock or prog. There is a wealth to the sound of These Monsters, but without being flashy.
The thing is. If you like rock in all its forms, then you will immediately hear the musicianship that has gone into 'Call Me Dragon'. You'll hear the psych influences, the prog, the metal, jazz. If however, you don't, then you've got some homework to do.