British prog-metal band Monuments have had a very productive year with the release of their third studio album, 'Phronesis', and a swarm of international touring.
Monuments released 'Phronesis' [Ancient Greek for a type of wisdom or intelligence] in October following recording and production sessions at the beginning of the year. “At the start of the year we started polishing off the songs that had been written for between one and two years,” founding guitarist John Browne says.
“Then we obviously went into the studio and started around February at Treehouse Studio, which is in the Derbyshire [England] area, with Jim Pinder.”
Singer Chris Barretto recorded the vocals in New Jersey with Cristian Machado from Ill Niño, while former drummer Anup Sastry returned to provide the drums for the album. After playing much of the new material on their recent European tour, John says it's an album some people will need to hear and see live.
“The response has actually been quite mixed; believe it or not I think a lot of people have changed their mind to the more positive side when they've seen us play live,” he says.
“You know how some records are just one of those things that you have to go see it live in order to fully appreciate what's going on? Those people came and saw us live, loved it, then listened to the album again and had a different perception of it.
“The people that loved it really loved it, then there were some people that were unsure about it, but I think it's our best record. Maybe I'm slightly biased,” he laughs. “We played six songs off the new record on the last tour and they all went down very, very well. So I'm stoked to play some other new ones when we come to Australia.”
Monuments will be in Australia next year as part of the tenth anniversary edition of Progfest alongside prog colleagues The Ocean and Skyharbor. “The last time we came to Australia was for the final ever Soundwave in 2015,” John says.
“We had such a good time at the show, they had a very good reception to our music. We clashed with Incubus most days and there were still entire rooms [sic] watching us, which was great.
“So we're really excited to get back, and actually I think Brisbane was my favourite show on the last run we did; it was such a good day. I love Brisbane, I think it might be my favourite city as well; it's [at] that point where it's not too big but not too small, and everything is there.”
John goes on to speak about his great admiration for the Australian prog scene, saying: “You've got all the best prog bands in the world.”
At the top of that list for John is none other than Karnivool. “It's not even about respect; until I heard Karnivool, Meshuggah was my favourite band and Karnivool completely took over that. They are absolutely incredible,” he says.
“We supported them here in Europe in 2015, and it was kind of a blessing and a curse at the same time: it was amazing to see them every single day, but it was also horrible that we had to play before them because they just made us look stupid, you know what I mean?” John laughs.
Monuments play Progfest 2019 sideshows at Jive (Adelaide) 29 January and Badlands Bar (Perth) 30 January.
Sat 26 Jan - The Croxton Bandroom (Melbourne) Sun 27 Jan - The Factory Theatre (Sydney) Sun 28 Jan - The Valley Drive In/The Brightside (Brisbane)