Review – Monkey3 – Beyond the Black Sky
I’m a fan of instrumental music. I don’t listen to a whole lot of it because it’s usually pretty tough to find good instrumental albums. They all seem to fall into the trap of becoming redundant through over-repetitive riffs. However, it seems to be as of late that I’ve been finding myself discovering a bunch of solid instrumental rock. Monkey3 is one such band that falls into this lucky category.
This Swiss quartet has just released their 4th studio album, Beyond the Black Sky, that is out now off of German label Stickman Records. If you haven’t heard of Monkey3 yet, shame on you. They’ve been around since 2001 and have been releasing music since 2004. Their style is heavy psychedelic, space rock with stoner roots. It doesn’t take you long to realize that the album title fits the style perfectly. There’s even a little Eastern European psychedelic stoner heard throughout. If you have noticed any trend with me as of late, you’ll see that this is stuff I’m gravitating towards. Can you blame me?
The album opens up with two trippy tracks “Camhell” and “One Zero Zero One” that have plenty of atmosphere to go around. If you’re looking for heavy, don’t worry, the heaviest is yet to come.
The third track, “Black Maiden”, is where you start to see the Euro psychedelic stoner rock sound kick into high gear. Here’s where you start to see the likes of German psychedelic stoner bands coming to life. It changes up the tempo and mood of the track throughout with clean, mellow riffs with some spaced-out sounds in the back adding plenty of atmosphere, and then hitting you hard with fuzzy riffs. Nothing out of the ordinary, but this is probably the track that really made me sit up and take notice to album.
“Tuco the Ugly” is a short, mellow, spacey track, while “K.I”, another short track, follows and quickly changes direction. The track is up-tempo with heavy, fuzzy riffs. These two tracks really help to break up the album nicely and throw in nice mixture of sound.
Picking back up with the psychedelic stoner sound, “Motorcycle Broer” welcomes us with a more even-tempo track with plenty of atmosphere crushing down on you throughout. “Gate 57” lulls you into believing you’re coming down from your high until it kicks into gear. This is another full-atmosphere track more in the normal realm of psychedelic stoner rock.
The final track, “Throughout the Desert” slows things down and lets the drum and bass make their way to the front for the first quarter of the track. Not wanting to relinquish the control they’ve had, the guitars pick it up. The track quiets down with only the bass surrounded by howling wind and an eerie voice and intermittent guitar leading into more atmospheric noise growing. As suddenly as they went, the instruments come back full-force and pick up tempo to end the track and the album on a high note.
Nothing out of the ordinary, Beyond the Black Sky is a solid psychedelic stoner rock album with plenty of atmosphere thrown in. The album starts off slower and builds itself up, mixing things throughout. There’s plenty of heaviness to go around while still maintaining depth in the aforementioned atmosphere. For me, this album didn’t immediately grab me and pull me in. It took a couple of spins to break down my wall, but once it found a weak-point, it hit hard. The album isn’t one of the longest albums I’ve been fawning over, but it’s a solid 42 minutes that will keep you interested should you give it the chance. When it’s all said and done, I would recommend this album.