Sights & Sounds

Monolith

Written by: TL on 17/05/2010 23:23:09

It's been a long day, and I had actually decided that I was too tired to bring you any reviews, but what with the most recent batch of news I've deemed it my obligation to throw facepalms at, I sense that the site is once again in the need of being balanced out with some truly awesome music. So I reach back into 2009 for an album called "Monolith", which me and AP never agreed who would review, enlisting its creators Sights & Sounds to aid me in my quest to bring you readers some quality. In truth, "Monolith" has been owed a review ever since I heard it, a longer while ago than I can even remember, because not only do you seldom hear a band which is so hard to compare to others as Sights & Sounds, you will also rarely hear a band who are as convincing at it as they are.

What S&S does that is unusual, is merge post-hardcore and post-rock into a skyscraping symphony of experimentalism, the inspirational potency of which I have not heard since the last 30 Seconds To Mars album. Listening to the album is indeed like sharing the view of a monumental monolith like the one on the cover art, watching unchanged as tidal waves crash and mountains erode around you it. The soundscape is cinematic and akin to those pursued by City Of Ships and Burn The Fleet, but where those bands remain rooted firmly in their (post)hardcore backgrounds, this colossus takes flight on the wings of a superb production, enriched by many a sampled instrument, all of them adding to its texture.

Like a post-rock album, "Monolith" parades both songs that are intricate and requiring of patience and a casual mind to yield full reward, and ones that are irresistably arousing highlights. Such highlights are instantly available in opener "Sorrow", courtesy of it's powerful refrain, and in "Neighbours" which sweeps you off your feet with one of the most barnstorming riffs I've ever heard pedal-metal produce. Immediately after that, songs like "The Furthest Truth" and "Pedal Against The Wind" have more back chilling moments, and quite frankly, such seem to be littered generously over the duration of the album. Curiously though, all of them seem to be achieved with vocal work that, though not hidden in a obscure corner of the sound like in some post-rock, also mostly seems to operate on the same level as the instruments with all three of its raw voices, rather than maintain a constant position in the aural spotlight.

Overall, "Monolith" is such a muscular album that you'll hardly believe it is Sights & Sounds' first long player, but alas, at thirteen tracks and with no predecessor, that is the case. At thirteen tracks however, some could argue that it is capable of outlasting the variety of its own expression, but for such a rich, consistent and well produced affair, this should detract only minimally, especially when considering that this is essentially a treat for fans of post-hardcore, post-rock and metal alike. It may be almost a year late, but my recommendations for it are still as warm as if they were brand new:

Download: Sorrow, Neighbours, Pedal Against The Wind
For The Fans Of: City Of Ships, Burn The Fleet, Fightstar (on Grand Unification), Bayonets
Listen: myspace.com/sightsandsounds

Release Date 26.05.2009
Smallman Records

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