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SPHERE

Monkey3

Psychedelic/Space Rock


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Monkey3 Sphere album cover
3.93 | 86 ratings | 3 reviews | 24% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection


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Studio Album, released in 2019

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. Spirals (11:19)
2. Axis (6:37)
3. Prism (9:10)
4. Mass (6:30)
5. Ida (4:22)
6. Ellipsis (14:13)

Total Time: 55:11

Line-up / Musicians

- Boris / guitar
- Mister Malpropre / keyboards, guitar
- Kevin / bass
- Walter / drums

With:
- Bumblefoot / guitar (4)

Releases information

Artwork: Sebastian Jerke

CD Napalm Records ‎- NPR 836 DP (2019, Europe)

LPx2 Napalm Records ‎- NPR 836 VINYL (2019, Europe)

FLAC download - bandcamp.com

Thanks to mbzr48 for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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Buy MONKEY3 Sphere Music


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Napalm Records 2019
$19.61
$13.16 (used)


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MONKEY3 Sphere ratings distribution


3.93
(86 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(24%)
24%
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(25%)
25%
Good, but non-essential (33%)
33%
Collectors/fans only (11%)
11%
Poor. Only for completionists (7%)
7%

MONKEY3 Sphere reviews


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by TCat
COLLABORATOR Eclectic / Prog Metal / Heavy Prog Team
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!

Review by patrickq
PROG REVIEWER
4 stars I suppose that "psychedelic/space" is the most appropriate subgenre in which to classify Sphere, but at times it could just as fairly be called progressive metal. However you slice it, I really like this new album by the Swiss quartet Monkey3.

I'm pretty new to contemporary space rock; the only 2019 releases classified as such on progarchives that I've listened to closely are Entropía by Invernadero (Chile) and |||| by Liquido di Morte (Italy). (Other spacey albums I've enjoyed from 2019 include Transmission by US "Krautrock" group Darsombra and Drone Activity by Ulver, the Norwegian foursome listed under "post-rock.") On one hand, these albums are miles away from Pink Floyd and Hawkwind, the UK-based space-rock pioneers who emerged in the late 1960s. But on the other, I find it fascinating that aspects of the relatively obscure Ozric Tentacles,* also from the UK, but founded in the 1980s, are still discernible in modern space-rock albums. On Sphere, the Ozric influence is clearest via rhythm, specifically the cadences and the use of the rhythm section.

Like much of ||||, several of the songs on Sphere shift substantially over their durations. "Spirals," for example, is an energetic tune that moves from space-rock to nearly anthemic hard rock. If I knew more about contemporary video games, I might say that the second part of this song might work in that genre also. Similarly, "Prism" begins as sludgy atmosphere before eventually evolving into straightforward metal, à la Trans-Siberian Orchestra or Dream Theater, then slows down as a soaring guitar solo, reminiscent at times of David Gilmour, pervades. And most of "Ida" could be a backing track for a neo-prog act like IQ - - until its last minute, which is pure symphonic metal.

The strongest songs here are the opener, "Spiral," and the album-closing pair, the concise "Ida" and the Ozric-invoking "Ellipsis," the latter of which is killer stoner metal, dude.

The middle of the album isn't quite up to the level of the beginning or end, though it's not bad at all. "Axis" is a bit slower and less imaginative than "Spirals," and it sets the stage for the next two songs: the slow-moving "Prism," and "Mass" (apparently featuring Asia guitarist Bumblefoot), a bit of a slog which hardly portends the closing nineteen minutes.

Coincidentally, I consider each of the four 2019 albums I mentioned earlier (from Invernadero, Liquido di Morte, Darsombra, and Ulver) worthy of three stars. Sphere isn't wildly better, but it's clearly deserving of four stars. I'm interested to hear more from Monkey3.

====

*Full disclosure: I'm not an expert of all things Hawkwind, Floyd, or Ozric; my claims are based on those group's best-known works, or, in the case of Pink Floyd, their output during their psychedelic/space phase.

Review by BrufordFreak
COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
5 stars Well-paced and highly engaging space/Krautrock from Lausanne (Switzerland). Though these guys have been releasing albums since 2001, this is my first encounter with them.

1. "Spirals" (11:19) four sections: the tension-filled opening three minutes which slowly, almost imperceptibly, builds until the 3:15 mark (Section 2) when a crash of bass, drums, and guitar chords unleash a hard-driving section within which Hammond and, later, guitar show some fine lead chops (though the bass work here is equally attention-grabbing), Section 3 that begins at 5:30 with some PINK FLOYD-like echoed bass solo work with intermittent flashes of aggressive guitar strums, and, at 7:45, when the final harder-driving section with its excellent PINK FLOYD-like slide guitar solo work but finishes with the flare of a WHO or PORCUPINE TREE song. Cool! One of my top three songs from the album. (18/20)

2. "Axis" (6:37) echoed electric guitar plays single note on its bass string in a PF "Run Like Hell" kind of way before echo and delayed electric guitar begins adding notes here and there. Toward the end of the first minute bluesy bass, drums and keys join in. Very space-bluesy for a few minutes until 3:50 when the two-tracked lead guitar leaps to the fore in a Hendrix-kind of way while the background sounds more like Polish heavy proggers RETROSPECTIVE. Awesome shift! Mellotron voices join in just before shift into a more melodic guitar riff enters and tries to hook us in. Return to the heavier, 'tron layered section at the six minute mark to the end. Pretty great song. Definite top three for me. (9.25/10)

3. "Prism" (9:10) two minutes of truly stark space sounds precedes the heavy sludge of slow metal music that erupts and sustains over the next two minutes. At the end of the fourth minute the motif and pacing switches, establishing a much more fast-driving groove by the end of the fifth minute within which the Hammond adds its particular embellishments before a lead electric guitar begins to establish its presence in the sixth minute. At 6:10 a slow decaying metal chord establishes an entirely new motif--one that is graced with the hair-raising DAVID GILMOUR-like guitar solo in the eighth and ninth minutes. (17.5/20)

4. "Mass" (6:30) opens like a FIELDS OF NEPHILIM song with some 1980s sounds oscillating around the soundscape. Even at 0:45 when the heavy grunge metal chords and group play enter and dominate and into the next motif with its heavily distorted PA voice and vocal Mellotron at the end of the second minute am I reminded of FIELDS OF NEPHILIM. 'tron dominates the melody line in the third minute. Flashy 1970s electric guitar solo in the fourth becomes flashier 1980s EDDIE VAN HALEN-like guitar solo by the end of said minute. Powerful and cool but nothing too original. (8.4/10)

5. "Ida" (4:22) opens with wind synth noises over which bass plays a riff in its upper registers. Joined by slow guitar strums and more spacey synth notes/washes before Indian percussion joins in at the one minute mark. At 1:45 heavily fuzzed electric guitar, synth chords, and full drum kit join in to lay down a heavier texture. Guitars begin soloing over the top, one up high more aggressively, and another behind, more controlled support. (9/10)

6. "Ellipsis" (14:13) opens with layers of spacey synth noises, blurts, and arpeggi as "Stranglehold"-like bass and drum lines set the pace. Volume pedal controlled guitars, two, move opposite one another in fast pans behind the sound scape. At 5:18 the bomb drops and we enter into a very deep and dirty section thanks to a great Piotr Grudzinski (RIVERSIDE)-like low-end electric guitar riff. Even when this riff exits its powerful echoes are felt, sustained, in the low-end work of the bass and other electric guitar strums. The "Stranglehold" feel is still there, but it's dirtier, nastier, more in an in-your-face "this is what you get!" way. Amazing! The only thing missing is a great Ian Kenny or Mariuz Duda vocal! Amazing how much is inferred, how much potential energy is visible, barely contained, waiting to burst into full onslaught! Incredible subtle build to crescendo. I'm in tears with the emotion from this! Definitely my favorite song on the album--and one of the best prog epics of the year! (29.5/30)

Total Time: 55:11

A/five stars; a rare masterpiece of progressive rock music coming from the overly pretentious Space/Psych subgenre. Definitely one of the best heavy space/psych albums I've heard in a long time!

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