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Three Wise Monkeys - Perihelion CD (album) cover

PERIHELION

Three Wise Monkeys

 

Crossover Prog

4.00 | 1 ratings

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Owen D
4 stars Unpredictable, exciting and innovative are three words that came to mind as I listened to the debut release of Three Wise Monkeys. A number of the tracks which make up Perihelion had previously been available as singles but have now been compiled to create 28 minutes of impressive experimental fusion. The 'Three Wise Monkeys' are a trio consisting of Brad Kypo on guitars, Alex King on bass and Liam Chandler on drums. Kypo's work is excellent throughout and here I found similarities to the style of Chris Poland's work with Ohm. Kypo and the other monkeys have been receiving positive attention for their live performances in and around Sydney, Australia, on the strength of this debut I can see why.

The opening composition and title track is an example of their often unpredictable and uninhibited approach. It is a short piece and more like a spontaneous jam than a carefully constructed reflection of what might be on offer later on. In many ways Perihelion could be considered the weakest track by some. Its structure appears to defy a number of usual compositional conventions, comprising of distorted guitars and a strong pulsing rhythm before concluding unexpectedly and oddly with a drum finale.

The next track, Sol Invictus, is one of the best compositions of the album. It has a memorable melody and features lots of impressive guitar work ending with Kypo producing an exuberant and thoroughly exciting solo. Acid 15 is a track that exudes excitement and unpredictability. Its liberal use of unusual time signatures, tapping rhythms and malleable guitar tones ensure that the listener is never placed in a state of complacency. It also features a wonderful guitar outro drenched with well-chosen effects.

Zeitgeist is another skilfully played arrangement. The piece is rich in delay effects and has a recurring theme that is explored, developed and improvised throughout. It also includes a heavy and complicated rhythmic middle section that creates a great groove. It is an impressive track and a good example of how exciting this type of music can be. Zeitgeist also has some interesting use of harmonics in an extended psychedelic section. The appearance of the recurring theme once more ends the piece. The format and structure of the tune is particularly strong.

Contrastingly, other tunes such as Evolutions and Spider Fest appear to be much less structured and, as such, have more in common with the title track. Whilst these tracks are played with much skill and aplomb (for example, the fine bass solo in Spider Fest), they feel as if they may have been conceived primarily as band jams. Zeitgeist, however, showed that this band is more than capable of creating structured and memorable tunes within this genre.

The most immediately accessible tune on offer is undoubtedly Choke which begins with a much more straight forward rock sound; so much so that comparisons with the Swedish guitar band Plankton could be made. However, this illusion is soon dispelled as the tempo increases and a bass solo emerges to create a driving groove with a definite fusion feel.

Pwnagetool is innovative in its scope and vision. Indeed, what emerges could be classed as perhaps an example of fusion reggae. The tune has a good vibe and is surprisingly catchy before a more experimental section takes over a minute and a half in. This section and the bonus track F#ck Kingsmill which follows features a modulating and droning bass effect similar to the sounds associated with and perfected by Radek BOND Bednarz. Pwnagetool concludes with some heavy guitar riffs and soloing before ending with more effects. The combination of these seemingly diverse approaches makes this track very interesting and never predictable.

Overall, I would recommend Three Wise Monkeys' Perihelion to anybody who likes to hear music played with the intensity of bands such as Naikaku or Ohm. However, as an album, it tends to lack an overall cohesion at times and some tracks definitely appear to be much more fully formed than others. The releases shorter running length than some prog fans might be accustomed to may dissuade some from investigating further. However, I understand that Three Wise Monkeys have in the past concentrated on distributing their music on newer media such as phone apps and downloads rather than CDs. Therefore, in this context a release of 28 minutes might be deemed appropriate.

(This review by Owen D was originally published by DPRP.net Issue 2013-076)

Owen D | 4/5 |

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