Monomyth is the new album from hardcore crew The Warriors; their first in ten years. And, in fairness to them, it sounds like it’s from 10 years ago. More, in fact. If anything, they still sound like they’re playing to a mid-2000s audience.
That’s not a bad thing, by the way.
Nor is it a good thing. It’s really just a thing. Which kind of sums up my attitude to the album. It’s a thing; it’s there. It’s not bad; a few good floor fillers, but there is nothing that stands out and demands your attention, which was like a lot of hardcore bands back in the mid-2000s. It does have more depth than a lot of similar.
The opening track, ‘All Life is One’, sets the tone for the rest of the album. A slow-building electro distortion with a white noise vibe before a military drumbeat rhythm and an angry proclamation starts growing until the andante tempo kicks in. This is the real bones of the track, and the andante changes it from just being an angry, shouty cry at the world, to an angry, shouty cry with depth.
Then we get ‘The Painful Truth’, which is sadly only an okay track. It’s one of those balancing issues. We have an Allegro tempo with steady drum and guitar framework, but the screaming lyrics ruin it before returning to a stomping rhythm.
They win us over on ‘Fountain of Euth’, with its slower, Andantino tempo techno-rock beat that works with the screaming lyrics approach. Like Gary Numan mixed with Coal Chamber.
The album is trying to combine inward, Eastern philosophies within the context of the 21st century, but it’s getting lost under the arrangement. It’s not something that’s impossible with hardcore – Bad Breeding does it – and it’s not something that means a lack of musical talent. It’s just getting the music and tone to work the way you want it. As an album, the tracks don’t flow into one another – they either stand out or sound so much like that last track that you think you’re still listing to the same song.
Despite the criticism, I do have the praise the album for its energy – its passion. And this isn’t grudging praise. The emotion on Monomyth is infectious. You get the idea of the personal hero’s journey, the Joseph Campbell, for the individual. But with an arrangement that remains too conflicted, so much of what it could have been is lost.