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All the way from merry old England, Monuments have been dubbed “brainy” metal musicians by the good folk at Soundwave Touring. Using instrumental gymnastics, they’ve left cynics speechless with their musical prowess and are a must-see at Soundwave 2015.
Monuments may have started out as a side project for John Browne (Fellsilent) and John Travis (The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza), but with the release of their debut LP Gnosis (2012) they soon found a steadfast following within the progressive-metal scene. Now with the addition of ex-Periphery and Ever Forthright’s Chris Barretto on vocals and saxophone, Monuments are leaving sceptics in the dust.
“Chris is the best thing that’s happened to us as a band. He’s a great musician and his vocals are mind-blowing!” Browne shouted over the noise of the busy backstage area he’s calling from. Monuments are in the middle of their most extensive tour to date – US, Europe, UK, then back to US before heading to Australia for the first time.
“We’ve never been to Australia before and I know we’re having some time off there, which is exciting because so far we haven’t had the opportunity to do anything touristy at the places we’ve been. I just wanna hug a koala bear,” Browne adds with a grin. “We can’t wait to sit back and chill in the sun – maybe have a smoke…
“We’ve been asking around and some friends have said that Soundwave is the biggest Australian festival, right? They also said that everyone is mental and crazy about music!”
Not sure whether to be offended or flattered, I reel it in by asking if they plan to play any sideshows on their days off. “I think we’ve got a few planned, but I’m not 100 per cent sure,” Browne’s voice trails off, as if he’s looking for approval to answer the question.
“I hope we are,” Browne divulges, rejoining the conversation. “We enjoyed playing the Download Festival this year in the UK [alongside Aerosmith, Avenged Sevenfold and Linkin Park]. That was a very, very big show but there’s something about playing those tiny little club shows, where everyone’s on top of each other, trying to climb on stage and sweating everywhere. Those intimate sets are pretty incredible.”
Browne says that their setlist planned for Soundwave will feature unique versions of songs from both Gnosis and Monuments’ 2014 release, The Amanuensis. “The name comes from the film Cloud Atlas [the film was inspired by the 2004 novel of the same name by British author David Mitchell] – your readers should definitely see that film.”
Out of nowhere I hear him cheering someone and I wonder if I’m impinging on a pre-gig tradition. “Sorry, we’re touring in Florida and it’s humid as hell at the moment – what was I saying? Oh yeah, we’ve been playing ‘Atlas’, ‘The Alchemist’ and ‘Samsara’ – they’ve all been going down a treat!
“But the song that everyone keeps asking us for is ‘I, the Destroyer’. We have a little time to practise so we might even debut it at Soundwave, if you’re lucky!” Browne laughed. “I love hearing that people are so passionate about music, so please listen to our music. Hopefully you’ll enjoy it and we can all grab a beer!”
When&Where: Soundwave 2015
By Natalie Rogers