20 Nov 2021 - Pat O'
Post Metal/Metalcore/Prog Metal | Release date: 26 Nov 2021
Monosphere’s ferocious and crushing waves of “post-metalcore” hybridised with many modern progressive techniques have made The Puppeteer one of the heaviest and most forward-thinking releases of the year. The album is a visually sublime and a sonically expansive piece of art that will quite literally blow your mind!
Monosphere have been building up the suspense for The Puppeteer very cleverly throughout social media circles over the last two months or so. They have released four very different tracks, and all accompanied by fantastic videos, including a premiere with us here at Veil Of Sound for “I Am In Conflict, Pt. I”, which was an absolute pleasure for us. Their style of brutally sharp, crushing music, crafted with moments of “post-rock” and “neoclassical” nuances is deeply engrossing and all-consuming once the play button is engaged. However, as I just mentioned, the ace up their sleeves is the visual concept that has taken a life of its own and given the album a third arm with its special effects and mesmerizing graphics. The artwork and all that entombs this release has been well thought out and meticulously cross checked to become one of the heaviest and most forward-thinking releases of the year. There’s a story to tell here, a concept that needs to be bought into, but once you unlock that door and see through your minds eye, the brilliance of The Puppeteer, the rewards are limitless.
Monosphere are essentially a “post-metalcore”/“prog metal band from Mainz, Germany who deliver an experimental, yet modern metal sound in between ethereal soundscapes, abrasive riffing and captivating moments filled with boundless energy. But as you will soon find out, there’s so much more hidden within this epic release. I will try in some way to share some of this experience with you, but ultimately, you need to be your own judge and jury on this album.
“Sheer Strings” opens The Puppeteer and creeps in with synthesised waves, sweeping back and forth, generating a sea of anticipation and intrigue, before hitting you square in the face with the wicked riffs and razor-sharp solo. The guitars here are crisp and the vocals, shuddering, as the track lays siege with a flurry of In Flames inspired high octane melodies, before lacerating the listener with a blast beat onslaught soon followed by a clean vocal delivery to re- cleanse the senses. It’s high-tech metal and it’s high on drama!
Monosphere’s ferocious and multi-inspired wave of “post-metalcore” and modern progressive techniques continues into the next track The Luminary. The synthesised frenzy continues to build drama and theatre, accompanied by a melody-driven and hugely technical passage of riffs and percussions. The vocals are heaped with sullen intensity, then dipped in sheer guttural potency. Subtle classical influences add more drama to the already highly charged swell as the story continues to unfold. Perfectly tuned dual vocals close the track with an unlikely air of calm and poise.
The next track, “The Disconnect”, is literally that. It sits somewhat uncomfortably between The Luminary and The Lover on first listen, with its unorthodox vocal phrasing, and its scratchy riffs, but soon enough, it all takes shape as the track gathers momentum and continues the puppeteer journey with some ferocious and equally impressive drumming. This opens the door for “The Lover”, a gentle, more warming track with its “dream-gaze” aura and its calmly strummed guitars. Its melodic and atmospheric and is the calm before the storm. Neoclassical undertones bubble beneath the surface as the music gently closes the door on the track. However, stand clear of said door, because, without mercy, it gets barrelled off its hinges by the mayhem and fury of “The Verdict”. Blast beats pour down with torrential vocals and pulverising guitar strings. Clean vocals make a brief appearance throughout the track giving it another dimension and an air of good versus evil.
“The Marionette is one of the standout tracks for me with its haunting, “shoegaze” wanderings and rich shredded guitars. In beautiful contrast, white is overshadowed in jet black as the tempo and atmosphere becomes more sinister and panicked the more the track develops. It’s a musical passage that showcases the bands’ ability to infuse their brutal tech-death tirades with a more impassioned, gentler style. As I touched on earlier, Monosphere have a concept to convey to us with The Puppeteer, and the vision is never hampered or restricted by the band concerning themselves with labels. Whether its classical or modern, like a giant musical jigsaw, every note and phrase has its place in this unique metal masterwork.
Almost like another record that takes on a different direction, “No Strings Attached” and “I Am To Blame” exposes another side to Monosphere. Warm ambient passages with minimalistic structures give the album room to breathe and the chance to experiment with some post rock delicacies.
“I am In Control Parts I, II and III” are an entity in themselves. “Prog-metal” inspired sorcery illuminates this trilogy with its dreamy and soulful atmosphere, and its jazz infused interludes with wailing solo guitars and radio friendly vocals. If all that was not enough to play with your mind, “I am In Conflict Parts I, II and III” muscles in with the more familiar high intensity onslaught, and for some reason keeps reminding me of In Flames The Jester Race! Part II shifts gears once more with its beautiful harmonies and soaring guitars. Emotive and heart-breaking, it almost pulls on the puppeteer’s heartstrings right up to the final flurry of Part III. This is highly technical and meticulously measured heavy metal that once more morphs through many genres and styles, a very unique and unusual passage of music.
To quote Monosphere themselves, “The musical narrative of the concept album is supported by the lyrical aspect and works like a dark thriller. A thriller that you have to rewatch multiple times to finally understand what The Puppeteer really is about”. I could have filled reams of paper if I was to decipher the story and concept of The Puppeteer for you all step by step. This is a task you need to work out for yourself, a journey you should have no issues in discovering. This album is monumental. It needs time to sink in. It needs your undivided attention, and when that last jigsaw piece finally falls into place, Eureka! It will all have been worth it.