Its one thing to just merely cover a band, something that has caused musicians perfectly capable of writing original material to opt for the better chance at making a living covering material from legends. Its quite another for a band to write music in the style of legends and mark it arguably better and more enjoyable. Enter Monument - a U.K. band that has been kicking since 2011 and unapologetically immerses itself into early Iron Maiden....so much so that you can barely tell the difference. However, rather than just ripping it off, Monument fashions a modern version of classic Maiden that truly is one of the most enjoyable of the new wave of traditional metal.
You author has been an avid supporter of Monument since its inception...declaring in previous reviews that even Maiden hasn't been as enjoyable with newer material as Monument is with refashioning classic material. If you look around the skyline of London you see a mix of classic and modern style architecture - so is the case with Monument's catalog - now on full length album three with "Hellhound." Like AC/DC, there is no magic formula...no inventing....nothing new - in fact, quite the opposite. The band just flips the bird at modern metal and basically declares "this is what we like, this is the way it should be...f**k you!"
"Hellhound" continues the band's stunning tradition of taking the Maiden style of "Killers," slapping modern production and adding an absolutely KILLER young Dickinson style vocals of the great Peter Ellis - a guy who looks and sounds the part. Its so overdone...its actually refreshing. In a world of pretenders and progression, the metal scene needs a band that can take the traditional styles and do it better than nearly every other newer band or older band can had has done. "Hellhound" is astounding in its ability to blend right into the Maiden catalog.
With a bit of a twist, the album's second single (and first video) "William Kidd" has a direct nod to Running Wild - not only in lyrical content, but musical style (that guitar tone is spot on). I can sing the choruses of "Little Bighorn" or "Blazon Stone" within the song, yet when its done I'm left thinking "gosh...this is the best Running Wild tune in years" - another testament to a band that can spit back out the styles of legends with a ferocity and perfection not heard in years.Other brilliant tracks include "The Chalice," "Wheels of Steel" (not Saxon) and album favorites "Attila" (f**k me if this couldn't be a Maiden song) and "Nightrider" (my god that vocal performance).
At the end of the album, the immediate reaction is sure to be: "I gotta hear that again." Monument is by far one of the most enjoyable traditional metal acts in the world today. They are a modern testament to days past for a new generation engulfed in so much progression and modern styles that they forget where all this started. If younger fans find "Hellhound" to be the foray to legends, then Monument has fulfilled its mission.
Label: ROAR! Rock Of Angels Records (2018)
1. William Kidd
2. The Chalice 3. Death Avenue
6. Wheels of Steel
7. The End
9. Straight Through the Heart
10. Creatures of the Night 11. Long Live Rock 'n' Roll (Rainbow Cover) 13. Deja vu (Iron Maiden Cover)