Band: Monkey3

CD Title: Astra Symmetry

Website: www.monkey3official.com  

Label: Napalm Records (2016)

Rating: Satisfying 3/5


This quartet hails from a town in Switzerland and theyíve been around for about fifteen years. Astra Symmetry is the bandís seventh recording and shows the band in fine form. Often described as Psychedelic, Stoner rock, this is certainly music that fits those criteria although I think there will likely be some on the Progressive Rock side of the equation that will get off on these guys. Their music certainly features a lot of trancey, spacey elements but at the same time their musical arrangements are quite complex, especially in a number of their compositions that run well over the six-minute length. Monkey3 like to set up a doom-laden groove and then float all around that theme with various guitar solos while layered keyboards build huge walls of sound. The album is made up of twelve compositions, most of which are instrumentals, clocking in at just over seventy minutes of music. There is a thin connection to early Pink Floyd from the Ummagumma or Echoes era in terms of musical approach and style. A good number of the tracks here are connected, flowing into one another creating synth-heavy, throbbing rhythmic patterns that build in intensity and then float off into the distance. Sometimes the sound is grand with great crashing climaxes and other times softer and more delicate with some deftly played guitar or keyboard solos. I will say that every-so-often the vocals go all growly and shouting and Iím not a fan of that, so they lose me there as Iím tempted to simply hit the skip button.  But if you can get past those few times where that distraction happens thereís a lot that I like about Monkey3ís music. To sum it up thereís some fascinating spacey music here that will clearly appeal to fans of that genre as well as fans of that early Pink Floyd period.