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Monkey3 - Sphere CD (album) cover

SPHERE

Monkey3

 

Psychedelic/Space Rock

4.88 | 6 ratings

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TCat
Prog Reviewer
5 stars 'Monkey3' is a Psychedelic/Space Rock band from Switzerland that I discovered a few years back, and have been impressed with ever since. This band has been around for a while and is considered one of the best stoner bands out there by the likes of artists like John Garcia from the band 'Kyuss'. Their music is mostly instrumental, and on their album 'Sphere', released in April of 2019, this continues to be the case. The band members all go by their first names (or stage names), and the line up consists of Walter on drums, Kevin on bass, Boris on guitar, and dB on keys, with Bumblefoot guesting for a guitar solo. The album consists of 6 tracks and has a run-time of over 55 minutes.

The first track opens with 'Spirals', a track that runs for over 11 minutes. The music features a nice atmospheric synth melody against a smooth and flowing backdrop that will put you in a dreamy state, that is until the full band explodes into motion at the 3 minute mark with heavy guitars and organ, solid drumming that isn't satisfied to just stay in the background, and a rousing bass pattern. The band opens all stops when the come into play, and a killer guitar solo and progressive action carry the rack forward. Before 6 minutes, things calm down to airy effects and a pulsing bass, then echoing power chords from the guitars push things back to a steady beat. The guitar sound gets heavier as things intensify and the guitars get into the drivers seat for the rest of the track, the last minute of the track exploding into full speed.

'Axis' begins with a sawing bass and echoing guitar notes while the drums pick out a moderate rhythm. Psychedelic style sythns take the center stage as they improvise over a heavy background. At 3 minutes, a rousing guitar solo takes over and the heavy beat will make your head start bobbing as the music pushes forward. The rhythm moves to a quicker tempo and a heavier background as synths play a choral effect and take over again. The guitars go into progressive mode as the music almost makes you feel like you are standing at a live show and jumping up and down with the crowd as the excitement intensifies to a climatic ending.

'Prism' has a nice psychedelic and atmospheric beginning with nice effects and spacey keyboards putting you back into a blissful state. A sudden burst of dark energy at the 2 minute mark will wake you up soon enough. Guitars and synths work together to build this into a heavy and progressive sound. Around 4 minutes, progressive riffs kick in and build excitement. Once again, the power of the music will put you into the heavy rocker mode as the track pushes forward, only to come crashing down around 6 minutes and heavy chords against a noisy wall of guitar fuzz finally establish a melodic and slow- burn, killer guitar solo. This variety of colors and moods will make this 9 minute song fly by too quickly. Awesome!

'Mass' comes in with a music box sound and vibrating effects ebbing and flowing behind it. Heavy guitars come in out of nowhere with choral style effects from synth chords and a slow, stoner beat. The drums and screaming guitars with some interesting vocal effects build things up, go quiet as tension still builds, and then everything takes off into a multi-color wall of sound and then a crazy, wild guitar solo takes things into full speed. This is guest Bumblefoot's guitar solo mentioned earlier, and his foot may by bumbly, but his fingers have total control over his guitar. Things return to a slower beat and layers of guitars keep this one quite heavy, loud and dark. At the end, things go back to that blissfulness before fading away quickly. 'Ida' is a more straightforward track which builds off of a simpler sound, but goes into crescendo mode from beginning to end, showing the full range of the band in a shorter amount of time.

'Elipsis' is more of a traditional space rock sound that starts off it's 14 minute journey building off of a simple guitar riff backed by a steady beat and swirling effects and synths. A slow crescendo reaches its zenith when the drums suddenly go into a crazy rapid fire frenzy as the increase in intensity reaches its climax and the heavy guitars continue for a while in the steady rhythm, and then things are broken down by a progressive riff and brought back to a nice floating, trance-inducing sound around the 7 minute mark. After that climax, things float along again for a while supported by that steady beat. Once again, the guitars start to push for another climax and evil sounding vocal effects join in deep in the background. The driving beat push the guitars forward as they demand more intensity. Everything falls apart before the 13 minute mark, and the beat stops as atmospheric synths take the track to its finish.

This is an excellent album full of a lot of dynamic (especially for a space rock or stoner rock band) and it is easy to see why this band is so well revered and is also gaining more and more fans all the time. Their concerts are quite amazing and make for a memorable experience. Since this band has been around for quite some time now, they have become quite good at working together, especially when it comes to knowing how to create amazing jam sessions. I still consider them one of the best psychedelic and space rock bands out there, and there are a lot of them, who also have a strong stoner rock edge to them, and the mix results in an exciting and dynamic sound. Here is another great album for all to hear among many other great albums being released in 2019. 5 stars!

TCat | 5/5 |

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