Monotheist – “Genesis of Perdition” EP


Monotheist_genesisThe first thing people tend to notice about Monotheist is that vocals are done by JJ “Shiv” Polachek who is arguably better known for his vocals in 7 Horns 7 Eyes, so I want to get that out of the way from the start as while that may raise some interest, it doesn’t do this band justice. Hailing from Orlando Florida, Monotheist describe their sound as a “progressive extreme metal” and that would be a fair description, but there is so much going on with their sound that it really begs for a more detailed explanation. There are a lot of technical elements here, black metal elements, and perhaps even some symphonic moments with strings and piano.

In true progressive and possibly symphonic form, the ep starts out with a nice, soothing string piece “Genesis of Perdition” before launching into some heavy, chugging riffing in “Subzero” complete with the deep, growling death vocals of Shiv. What struck me immediately in this song is the technical nature of the guitar work. At times it’s the standard heavy, fast riffing but at other times very intricate and technical, transitioning seamlessly between the two styles. Songs on this ep are very well-crafted and really ornate with the various combinations of styles driven by the excellent guitar work. These are the kinds of songs one would expect from a veteran band that has produced many albums over a storied career.

There are some clean vocals on the album which may not go over well with the diehard death metal fans but they do provide a nice contrast and a break from the standard death vocals, while not feeling like they were used as a gimmick. Their first appearance is after a symphonic string section in “Elegy of the Sleepwalkers”. What helps them work is the overall tone of the vocals that stay within the feel of the song and avoid the clashing contrast that so many “heavy” bands employ when they use clean vocals.

Each song seems to carry its own special blend of styles and elements to make the music interesting and unique. I especially like the mournful piano opening of “Altar of Vanity” that then is replaced by an explosion of technical riffing and intermixed with some heavy, chugging riffs. Add into this some great guitar solo work and some fitting clean vocals over piano at the end and you can get an idea of what makes this sound unique. Beautiful, heavy, complicated, simple and brutal all within the same song, that is what makes this album interesting and worth a listen.

Rating: 8/10

1. Genesis of Perdition
2. Subzero
3. Elegy of the Sleepwalkers
4. Feeding on Pestilence
5. Altar of Vanity
6. The Great Awakening

Band Members:
JJ “Shiv” Polachek – Vocals
Prophet – Guitar/Vocals
Cooper Bates – Drums/Vocals
Christian Martinez – Guitar
Jose Figueroa – Bass

Unforsaken [2007]
Unforsaken, re-issue [2012] [review]
Genesis of Perdition EP [2013]

Record Label: Independent, May 2013

Weblinks: Facebook / Reverbnation / Twitter / Bandcamp

Buy the album here:
First Paradox
Norway: Nordic Mission
USA: Metal Helm

Interview With Monotheist [Feb. 2013]

Video below for “Elegy of the Sleepwalkers”

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