Vermilion Sands

posted: 2024-03-22 Welcome to the Machine Monkey3

released: 2024-02-23
on label: Napalm
artist: Monkey3
with some: Stoner RockPsychedelic Rock
see also: All Music Album of the Year (77%) • Discogs Music Brainz Rate Your Music (3.56 / 5)
more reviews: Prog Archives

Having put an impressive twenty years into soaring instrumental weaves and mountains, Switzerland’s Monkey3 have returned with their seventh full-length, a none-too-subtle Pink Floyd referencing album titled Welcome To The Machine. In keeping with their mountainous homeland, Monkey3 continue their brand of vocal-less rock combining elements of progressive rock, post-metal and electronic music in a vast sonic vista that stretches for miles.

The opening track “Ignition” follows a template that Monkey3 has perfected for a while. It uses crisp opening electronic beats and synths in a manner reminiscent of Boards of Canada before launching into a shimmering and dense barrage of bright guitar tones and propulsive drumming. “Collision” is two tracks in one: A moody mid-tempo drum’n’bass creep and then a hard-hitting riff-fest with some tasty lead shredding and very Faith No More-ish keyboards. “Kali Yuga” reminds me of Justin Broderick’s band Jesu, only with much more varied guitar textures, it hovers between a sense of impending dread and a possible rebirth in keeping with the song title.

“Rackman” is a catchy space tune that would feel right at home on the soundtrack for Mass Effect. It’s one of the shorter songs on the record but I feel it has a bit more to say as it meanders far less than the others. By contrast, “Collapse” feels a bit too familiar. Monkey3 are very good at what they do. They have a keen ear for melody and the electronic elements are skilfully blended into the arrangements.