Tuesday, 2 February 2016

Album Review: Monsters Begetting Monsters by Thousand Oaks

The fine folks at Disconnect Disconnect records have a new release on its way from four-piece Italian skate punks Thousand Oaks. They will be releasing a brand new album called Monsters Begetting Monsters on the 29th January.

The opening track is named Dim Firmament. This song sets out the stall of what we should expect from this album - fast technical guitars with soaring vocals and great harmonies. The song isn't the longest but it goes along at a nice tempo. It doesn't feel like it's too fast but it is by no means too slow. The next song, Sow The Wind, wastes no time in getting started, seemingly skipping the introduction all together. The drumming on this track in particular really stood out to me, at times it’s relentless and there are some excellent changes in key throughout. This leads nicely into Reap The Whirlwind. At only forty-nine seconds long (impressively it's not the shortest song on the album) it, like the title would suggest, is just a whirlwind of punk rock music. There are some good gang vocals and more aggressive shouting in the song that give it some real emotion. The fourth song, Baptistina is a solely instrumental track that leads as an intro to Being The Chain Breaker. This is the stand out track on Monsters Begetting Monsters. It's got a real fists-in-the-air quality, which I love in my punk rock. Then there are the key changes, at times it feels like it's a completely different song as Thousand Oaks take us on a series of highs and lows. Fantastic tune! Yard Time is another highlight that starts with some big, gravelly voiced vocals that really pack a punch. There is an interesting little surprise towards the end of the song where the momentum shifts and the track gets a bit of a pop punk sound before finishing with the aggressive style that started the song. The seventh song is I Know Now Why You Cry. This track feels far more accessible to the masses with some poppier vocals taking place amongst the technical guitar parts and the growls. The contrasting vocal styles create a really fun and interesting song.

Life Eats Life is the title of the eighth song on Monsters Begetting Monsters. This is another completely instrumental song with some amazingly fast technical guitar playing that has me in awe. You Can't Fight Fate starts out with some almost metal sounding guitars and some fast paced vocals that carry the melody of the song. This song at times is mesmerising, I'm sitting at my laptop amazed by how all these complicated parts have come together so brilliantly. Poison Coated Empty Jar is only thirty-five seconds long but manages to squeeze a hell of a lot into its short time-span. Very much an example of less is more. Thousand Oaks manage to get in the relentless drums, technical guitars, soaring vocals, growls and gang vocals into this short but oh so sweet song. Homecomings is another song of fantastic contrasts. The drumming and guitars are ferociously played at top speed whilst the vocals are sung at a much slower tempo. I really enjoyed this and it isn't something I've heard an awful lot. I have to imagine it's incredibly tricky to do live though. Dredged Up Resemblance is another instrumental song. I enjoyed all three on the album; they add some nice breaks to the intensity of the rest of the tracks have. Much like the penultimate and title track of the album, Monsters Begetting Monsters. This song starts slowly with a big fist-in-the-air gang vocal moment before we journey into some more fast paced technical skate punk rock. This is another of the standout songs on the album. I really loved the breakdown that leads into the finale of the song. Breakdowns are always a great way to build towards a big ending. Speaking of big endings, the final song on this album is called Nowhere To Hide. This track has nice, long intro before we are treated to some melodic hardcore punk rock fun. The vocals jump between aggressive hardcore and soaring vocals throughout the song. This works best around the halfway point of the song where the band seemingly do everything they can to bring the house down. And they definitely do.

To be totally honest I wasn't really sold on this album on first listen but after a few times through I loved it. Everything about it is just so impressive. If you love skate punk then you'll love Monsters Begetting Monsters.

Stream and download Monsters Begetting Monsters here: https://disconnectdisconnectrecords.bandcamp.com/album/monsters-begetting-monsters

Like Thousand Oaks here: https://www.facebook.com/thousandoaksband