Keeping on track with their record a year philosophy of being “the most prolific band you’ve never heard of” these Londoners continue with their fifteenth full-length release, Scale and Probability which observes the existence of life somewhere out there in the universe. It does so with a mixture of classic heavy metal, progressive stylings and chunks of death, which have been the patented Monsterworks formula since the first disc I had ever heard from them. That being said, the album concept as a whole is also fascinating. I actually got more interest out of the linear notes that come in between the song lyrics in the album booklet than the music itself; which the band might find a bit odd – even though reading about these subjects really got my synapses firing.
There are just so many of concepts illustrated here that I’ve thought about in my day to day existence, some of them I had even put into books that I’d penned a few years back. One of these concepts in particular was featured on a song called “The Reveal” which dealt with the very fact that intelligent life hides itself out there in the universe. In my novels, I had written about an advanced species on a planet so close to Earth that it might have been considered a sister planet. Even the moon was further out. Of course, the technology that this world possessed was just light years ahead of everything that we had ever seen, so any methods that Earth might use to pick up on it would be completely null and void. These beings were able to defy human sciences, to turn the laws of human logic completely on their head. But what’s more, is that I myself still hold this as a strong possibility. Rather than alien life being further out in the universe, I feel that it is staring us right in the face and would rather hide because not only have we mostly portrayed it in film as being nefarious, but we’ve also had several wars since our inception onto this planet. If there is an advanced intelligence out there, it is probably waiting on us to expire.
Moving back to the album, the boys have chosen to stick with a rather traditional analog approach, which comes off a bit raw though allows the clean sections on the record to be heard with an astounding clarity. When you’re focused on such deep topics as philosophy and science, this is the kind of sixties prog infusion that makes for great contemplation. The record still offers a crunch as pieces like “Weight Of Emptiness” really lay the hammer down, almost coming off with a level of doom/death that we would not expect on a record like this, but are indeed thankful for. Meanwhile, the album remains incredibly textural thanks to the guitar work of Jon and Marcus and offers a great deal of technical tinkering that just seems natural for these guys. Most of the songs are quite heavy despite their progginess, with the exception in “All Truths Be True” which is lyrically a large part of the band’s philosophy (and my own, which caught me off-guard) as it features a much lighter tone, yet some rather powerful vocal howls from Jon, which seem to take a bit from Halford in only the best of ways. The record is admittedly very short, but it packs a punch and will leave the listener with a great deal of questions, especially if they’ve been reading the linear notes as I have.
The band states that another major part of their philosophy is the belief that humans must evolve into a supreme interconnected being, which is ironically the same lesson that Grant Morrison was apparently taught by alien lifeforms originating from Alpha Centauri when he was abducted by a passing craft on Kathmandu, to which he would later write one of the most influential comics of all-time, The Invisibles (which was noted to have been left out all over the set of The Matrix films as “inspiration” by the Wachowskis. Morrison himself uses a much uglier word, but we’ll refrain from that here). I definitely feel that Monsterworks’ music embodies that philosophy, because even though the band utilize rather thunderous, dark and overly heavy elements of death and doom metal to illustrate these soundscapes, the overall theme comes off as some of the most beautiful doom and death metal that I’ve ever heard. It’s almost like classical in a sense with uplifting highs and frightening lows, feeling like a gelatinous mass of unity within the heavy metal genre. Scale and Probability isn’t just ear-candy, it’ll make you think – and I “think” that more bands need to do that.