04 October 2014 (released)
12 May 2014
After having the great pleasure of reviewing their 'Neurogenesis' album in 2013, the Monks have returned to me with something a little different yet still emphatically awesome in the shape of this four-track album, 'Afraid To Die'. This outing is a soundboard of intelligent lyricism and symphonic rock.
Immediately, it's easy to notice how orchestrally anthemic the album has set out to be from its title track, 'Afraid To Die' which mixes the vibrancy of traditional rock with operatic elements that make the song sound like a prime candidate to become the soundtrack for the next James Bond instalment. It's heavy but there is still a very noticeable pop sensibility about it. The mixture of the guitars with the brass instrumentation act in equilibrium giving the song balance.
On the other hand, 'Downfall' is more electronically defined and even more highly charged than 'Afraid To Die'. There's a part of me that feels that the Monks have attempted to infuse a healthy beaker-size of RnB into the experimentation; not purely because of Vikram Kaushik's smooth vocal delivery but there is a similarly soulful arrangement that is atypical of classic rock. 'Downfall' represents the evolution of rock, revealing what you can do to it with a little creative ingenuity.
'Alive For A Minute' places a lot of emphasis on space and track building. Its completely aware of how effective timing and tempo can influence the outcome of an emotionally-driven song.
Finally, 'I Belong To You' is almost completely detached from the rest of the album, adopting a drastic drop in tempo. Completely acoustic and ever so sweet with the soft, swelling strings fortifying the simple, bumpkinly guitar riff. It's strange that this would be my favourite song on an album that is predominantly so vigorous but it's charming.