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Monks of Mellonwah’s Afraid to Die, CD Review

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Alternative Rock from Australia Hits the Right Note

Monks of Mellonwah: Afraid to Die, CD Review

Monks of Mellonwah: Afraid to Die, 2013. Image Courtesy of Monks of MellonwahInfluenced by groups such as Pink Floyd, Led Zeppelin and the Red Hot Chili Peppers, to name a few, the Australian alternative/indie band Monks of Mellonwah have concocted an interesting fusion of styles and given it their own unique spin, which makes their music sound fresh and undated.

The band’s first release, the EP Stars Are Out, saw the light of day in 2010. Another EP, Neurogenesis, followed in 2012, which won them some rave reviews and accolades such as ‘Best International Rock Band’ at the LA Music Awards and ‘Best Indie Rock Band’ at the AIM Music Awards. International tours have followed, including two stints in the US while their videos have received major airplay on MTV.

So, coming off the heels of their well received third EP Sky and the Dark Night, the Monks are apparently on a roll, and show no sign of stopping, especially with the release of their first full length CD Turn The People as three individual EPs. Part the first, Ghost Stories, was released on June 29, 2013, with the second installment, Afraid To Die, unleashed in early October.

Now, onto the music:

Despite its brevity, Afraid to Die has enough hooks and grooves to make the listener want more. No, seriously!

The title track, “Afraid to Die”, has grungy power chords, thundering bass and subtle orchestral touches that immediately draw the listener in. While Vikram Kaushik’s intense vocals add a funky layer to the song, it’s John de la Hoyde’s bass guitar that glues all facets of this hypnotic and catchy song together; it’s fluid, flexible feel makes it extremely groovy.

“Downfall” is a heavy funk/metal burst of energy; a hypnotic series of looping riffs, wah wah and distortion that overlap one another. It’s great power pop that kicks serious butt in under four minutes and brings to mind the power chords of many 1970s metal bands, without venturing into clichés.

“Alive For A Minute” is a somewhat subdued track that strives to be an anthem, with waves of swirling violin adding appealing accents. Good, solid vocals as well.

The closing track, “I Belong To You” is the real surprise here, in that it’s all acoustic. It’s somewhat reminiscent of classic songs such as Kansas’ ‘Dust in the Wind’, for example, in that it’s powerfully effective and not a saccharine, syrupy ballad. Also, the orchestral elements really work, giving the song an added element of intensity. Kaushik has a terrific voice, so it’s nice to hear his full range on this lovely track that never becomes overbearing.

So, if you dig a mixture of funk, metal, power pop, and some slight traces of soul thrown in for good measure, then Afraid to Die is a good, solid production that will not disappoint. The Monks of Mellonwah are a very interesting band that may just convert you!

Dave Bower is Co-Publisher of The Free George. Image Courtesy of Monks of Mellonwah.

The Free George is the online magazine and visitors’ guide of Upstate NY, covering things from Albany to Lake Placid, including Saratoga, the Lake George region and the Adirondacks. Check out our City Blogs section for our extended coverage areas as well.

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