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MONOLITH

Symphonic Prog • United States


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Monolith biography
MONOLITH are an American trio from New Jersey mixing ELP, UK, TRIUMVIRAT, REFUGEE and URIAH HEEP influences. Although their lone album was released in 1998, the band originated way back in 1977 when keyboardist Bill Hamer wrote an ambitious musical suite called "The Apocalypse Concept". An avid ELP, UK and KING CRIMSON fan, he found a couple of allies in like-minded drummer Ron Mattia and bassist/vocalist Gordon Winfield. They did record his 17-minute suite on a demo tape; however, this being smack in the middle of the punk era, their timing was completely off and although the band tried to keep up with the times by writing a few 80ish style songs, they just couldn't survive. In 1995, however, Musea agreed to re-release the album. So Hamer and Mattia got together and re-recorded it using state-of-the-art equipment.

Don't let the seemingly metal sounding name fool you: MONOLITH make pure art rock that rides on Bill Hamer's 70's-style bombastic keyboards - the listener will soon notice how good a student he is of both Rick Wakeman and Keith Emerson. The pièce de résistance of the album is, of course, his 1977 musical suite subdivided into six complex yet easily digestible tracks, mostly reminiscent of ELP and KING CRIMSON. The only guitar you'll hear on the whole album, however, appears on the final two tracks, courtesy of guest artist Steve D'Acutis; a little out of place, these ASIA-like tracks are more of the AOR variety.

Should appeal to fans of the ARS NOVA keyboard sound, as well as to fans of ELP and Rick Wakeman.

: : : Lise (HIBOU), CANADA : : :

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3.00 | 9 ratings
Monolith
1998

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MONOLITH Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Monolith by MONOLITH album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.00 | 9 ratings

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Monolith
Monolith Symphonic Prog

Review by b_olariu
Prog Reviewer

3 stars Monolith is an american band formed by Bill Hamer in 1977. The album as is said above is made back then but only in 1995 saw the light, it was rerecorded by Bill Hammer, who plays on keys, Gordon Winfield on vocals and bass and Ron Mattia on drums. They have here as invited guest on guitars Steve D' Acutis. The music is not far from ELP specialy the driven keys passages and warm vocals of Gordon. Half the album is made as a big one track over 17 minutes named The apocalypse concept , but are divided in small pieces all of them under 3 and a half minutes, the rest of the album is a common them pieces. The music is very pleasent, warm vocals, electrified key passages and intristing aswell, some chops on drums but to outstandig, only good, only fiew parts of guitar riffs and solos are heared here, the entire album is almost key driven prog. Well is not something never heared before, but it is enjoyble most of the time. They remain as cult band in USA, and they never gain any big importance, only in the '90's they woke up and prog lovers remembered them as one of the natural followers of ELP, Triumvirat and UK. 3 stars for Monolith, worth some spins.

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 Monolith by MONOLITH album cover Studio Album, 1998
3.00 | 9 ratings

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Monolith
Monolith Symphonic Prog

Review by Greger
Prog Reviewer

3 stars MONOLITH was formed as long back in time as 1977. They recorded a demo tape with a 17 minutes long track called "The Apocalypse Concept", that the keyboard player Bill Hamer had written. Actually it is six separate songs that is 2-3 minutes long, put together by a common theme. Unfortunately they had to quit because of the upcoming punk era that were putting the prog rock in the shadows for years to come. In 1995 they re-recorded "The Apocalypse Concept", and the result can be heard on this debut CD from MONOLITH, together with five other tracks.

MONOLITH is playing a 70's prog that is a mix between ELP, UK, KING CRIMSON, RUSH, ASIA and URIAH HEEP. Keyboards dominate their music. The vocals singed by the bassist is rather good, so are the bass playing. The drummer though is rather mediocre. Apart from the last two tracks, this album doesn't contain any guitar playing, and sometimes you are missing a guitar. The last two songs are very different to the other tracks on this album. You get the impression that they don't belong on this album. They should fit into a keyboard oriented rock album from the 80's, in the same vein as EUROPE.

The sound on this album could have been better, but it's reasonable. The CD package is a disappointment. The CD booklet contains only two pages, which is very boring. The picture on the front cover is very nice though. Unfortunately the CD is only 40 minutes, which in my opinion is a little bit too short for being a debut CD from a band that have been around since 1977.

Recommended tracks: "The Apocalypse Concept" and "Sanctuary". The commercial track "Mister Personality" is very good too. This is a good debut album, but it doesn't rise above the average prog rock releases today. Recommended though to every ELP and Rick WAKEMAN fans around the world.

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