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Non-Prog CD Reviews

Monks of Mellonwah

Turn the People

Review by Gary Hill

These guys have done a very smart thing. They’ve been releasing pieces of this album for the past few months, as EPs. It’s a great way to create a buzz. This outfit has a sound that’s worthy of buzz, too. I like these guys a lot. It’s good to finally have the whole thing assembled, but delivering in pieces really helped me to better appreciate and anticipate this thing. It should be noted, though, that I’ve reviewed quite a few of these individual songs before. So, for the sake of consistency, I’ve used those track reviews here.

This review is available in book format (hardcover and paperback) in Music Street Journal: 2014  Volume 1 at

Track by Track Review
Ghost Stories Intro
This instrumental is a cool little track. It’s a short one, but it’s full of waves of sound. It does a nice job of getting into the vibe of the set.
Ghost Stories
There is a cool alternative rock vibe with a lot of progressive rock in the mix here. While the musical structure has some great changes and shifts and textures, the vocal arrangement really steals the show on this. There are multiple layers of vocals and the delivery is powerful and just works really well. All in all, this is a great tune.
The riff that drives this is quite a meaty one. I suppose one could say that the riff steals the show here, but the vocal arrangement shines enough to give it a real run for its money. There’s almost a soulful vibe to the vocals, but the guitar is all smoking hot hard rock.    
Tear You Hate Apart
Starting rhythmic and rather electronic, this works out to a cool alternative rocker with some catchy hooks. Multiple layers of vocals work well to deliver a killer tune.
There is an electronic rock vibe to this thing. It has a pretty stripped back musical arrangement playing backdrop for a soulful vocal line. The cut works out to some more powered up music, but still remains fairly mellow in the process. That said, later in the piece it’s energized and more of a rocker, but still keeping with the modern pop alternative rock sound.
Alive for a Minute
In a riff that somehow makes me think of Judas Priest’s Point of Entry album, the bass opens this. Only bits of keyboards and some drums serve as accompaniment as the first vocals of the piece enter. This is one with a lot of soul and a lot of cool charm on it. The vocal arrangement is classy. The cut lives, for the most part in this mellower style. That said, there is a recurring powered up movement that’s quite cool. There’s also a jam later that lands pretty close to technical speed metal. That jam extends out to serve as the outro.           
Escaping Alcatraz

There’s a killer pop rock, keyboard laden introduction. It drops down to mellower sounds. Then a guitar based jam ensues and after a short drop back to the mellower, they turn that guitar segment to the song proper. This is modern, alternative rocking and catchy. It has elements of nu-metal in some ways. It’s also got a lot of keyboard layers over the top. A mellow interlude mid-track lends variety and charm to the piece.
Sailing Stones
There’s an alternative rock meets classic rock riff that drives the opening. The first vocals somehow remind me of Pearl Jam’s “Evenflow.” The cut works out from there in a series of transitions. At points it feels almost country rock influenced. At other points it leans towards progressive rock. All in all, though, it’s great. There’s even a cool jam later in the piece that has a lot of middle Eastern elements and some hints of Led Zeppelin’s “Kashmir.”
Turn The People
The title track starts off fairly mellow with piano. Eventually it works out to a modern sounding alternative rock tune that’s in keeping with the rest of the set.
The riff that opens this has a classical, technical metal sound to it. The song is an ever shifting piece of music, though. At times this runs too far toward fairly generic modern pop music. Still, there are enough left turns and bits of cool music (that opening riff returns later as one of those) to keep it from falling fully into the vein of modern pop rock. It’s a good song, but pales in comparison to that opener. The guitar soloing on the piece is the one thing that really shines the brightest.
Afraid To Die
The riff that opens this is very meaty. It’s got a soulful Montrose meets Led Zeppelin vibe to it. The horn section (might be synthesized) brings another angle to the sound. The vocal line is powerful and has a lot of passion. As this builds out later it gets almost a Led Zeppelin “Kashmir” vibe with a more modern edge to it. This track by itself is worth the price of admission. It’s also one of the coolest cuts I’ve heard all year.
I Belong To You
This is a ballad. It’s intricate and quite pretty and the arrangement gets rather lush at times. The vocals, often layered, are the really shining star on this piece. While those vocals are great and make the song worth listening to, the structure and arrangement are too simplistic and trite to really stand out. In other words, this is a good song, but it’s one of the weakest pieces on the disc.
Sky And The Dark Night - Part 2 – Control
This is definitely one of the strongest cuts on show. There is a metal vibe to it throughout, but particularly on the intro section. Symphonic elements are heard and this is another that’s definitely a progressive rock styled number. It’s also quite powerful, dramatic and strong. It’s one of my favorites here.
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