What happens when you take a diverse range of talented musicians and throw them into a room, lock the door and run away, swallowing the key? They’ll get called a “super group” or “all star” when they get out but their compositions may or may not be worth checking out. Sometimes one particular member of the band dominates the writing and what you’re left with is a band that sounds very much like the band that is their main project. Imonolith feature in their ranks drummer Ryan Van Poederooyen (Devin Townsend Project) guitarist Brian ‘Beav’ Wadell (Devin Townsend Project), vocalist Jon Howard (Threat Signal), guitarist Kai Huppunen (Methods of Mayhem, Noise Therapy) and bassist Scott Whalen (Econoline Crush). So that makes them a collective of well known musicians whose reputation proceeds them. When you add to that a couple of guest appearances, namely from Jens Kidman of Meshuggah and famed Swedish vocalist Johannes Eckerström and fans of any of those bands should be foaming at the mouth to listen.
An horror film esq introduction piece in “State Of Being” with a spoken word rant from Howard that has that nauseated sense of disgust that Corey Taylor has conjured in the past for Slipknot. After that you’re expecting a massive rager of a track but instead “Becoming The Enemy” appears. After such an impressive tone setting piece, the track doesn’t have the umph to follow it up. Not that there is anything wrong with the track itself, it’s a fine piece of mid-album material that has both melodic and heavy sides to the Imonolith coin. The contrast of the vocalists is really good with guest Johannes Eckerstrom doing a fine job. If they’d cut the intro off “Instinct” and swapped that into its place it would have had the impact to follow up th intro. A faster raged fueled track, it has a throw back Metalcore styled sung chorus while having that Fear Factory bass sound captured to perfection and some brutal percussive moments. Synths add something more and are a real nice touch before “Dig” kicks in and while it’s not a cover of the Mudvayne track it certainly has flavours of their sound in it with bass heavy grooves bringing plenty of Mosh pit worthly notes and Howard providing a commanding vocal performance.
“The Mourning” has the bounding chug of a War Machine with some headbangable downtuned riffs – no DTP Progressive Metal moments to this point, instead Imonolith take a more traditional straight up Metal approach. The sung chorus manages to avoid slowing down the waves of groove swagger but it’s a close run thing. “Forgone” ups the ante in the riffs stakes with Strapping YoungLad inspired distortion while the rhythm section gets a full work out with some interesting tempo shifts. What is key to the sound is that it is easily accessible and having echos of a multitude of influences gives it an edge because it sounds familiar. The slower build of “Breathe” gives Howard the opportunity to use his clean vocal range for the lion share of the track which is more radio friendly than any other. The driving last third brings back some of the heavier tones of the earlier sound and it’s a welcome lift.
That mid album melodic piece makes way for the powerhouse “The Reign” which is the Jens Kidman of Meshuggah featuring track. It has to be heavier and by definition and brings throat higher energy burn with a battering ram of DJent riffs and Thrash inspired turn arounds to create a stand out moment. “We Never Forget” keeps that pacing going while having a chantable chorus that will no doubt be a call and response live moment. Howard’s southern sprawl in places on this one is a nice touch and that continues into “Hollow” which sees some adopted Alice In Chains elements into the sound. Ryan Van Poederooyen impresses throughout the album but more so on this one because he bolsters what could fall flat with some interesting fills that capture the imagination before the pile driver of a closing. “Persevere” has a gloriously dirge laden opening riff with a strong sentiment in the lyrics that gets a more passionate performance from Howard vocally. The solo shines and while we had a poke at the start of the review, “State Of Being” is a solid album with plenty of books that will keep you coming back [8/10]
1. State of Being (1:17) (intro)
2. Becoming The Enemy (3:44) (ft. Johannes Eckerstrom)
3. Instinct (3:43)
4. Dig (4:12)
5. The Mourning (3:13)
6. Forgone (4:37)
7. Breathe (3:49)
8. The Reign (3:41) (ft. Jens Kidman of Meshuggah)
9. We Never Forget (4:06)
10. Hollow (3:39)
11. Persevere (4:06)