Even in the forefront of this release I became pretty excited, for ever since I'd learned from the English rock and metal magazine "Rock Sound" that members of such highly acclaimed bands as EARTHTONE9, SUBVERT and VEX RED were working on an album together and were going to unleash it upon humanity under the moniker TWIN ZERO, I really couldn't contain myself anymore. TWIN ZERO was brought into life by Reuben Gotto, guitarist of the widely popular band SUBVERT (remember their grand 1998 EP "My Greater Energy"), and what originally began as a one-man band soon saw a lot of growth thanks to other well-known actors in the metal scene. Apart from vocalist extraordinaire Karl Middleton (ex-EARTHTONE9 and THE BLUEPRINT), former EARTHTONE9 drummer Simon Hutchby joined the merry troupe as well. In order to maintain an optimal and powerful performance both live and in the studio, Ben Calvert (ex-VEX RED) also switched sides and became another fitting addition to the SUBVERT roster. The exceptionally gifted line up is completed by Dave Cheeseman (keyboards and vocals), Bing Garcia (guitars and vocals) and Anf Morfitt (bass), who form a group so effective, your higher mental functions will be most delighted.
Basically it's almost self-evident that the material gathered on "Monolith" is beyond any negative criticism, and what else should one have expected from these musicians other than an all around perfect display of their skill. Karl Middleton sings like there's no tomorrow and distinctly tops the performance of his previous workplaces once again, and the crew in the back (if they even may be called that) does one mighty deed after the other. The hypnotizing opener "Monolith Part 000" gently gets the listener in the mood for the following scenario, before about halfway through the song tribal-like drums come in and things slowly get going; then, with "Earthbound" a song cuts through the air that's going to make a lot of jaws drop with its uniqueness. The listener is surprised by about seven minutes of creativity of the best kind imaginable. Thick, broad guitar walls combined with dominant, yet never inappropriate synth sounds, pumping bass lines and skullsplitting drums reduce everything to dust and leave pure destruction behind (of course only figuratively and acoustically speaking). The unmistakable voice of Mr Middleton floats over all this musical perfectionism, leaving no doubts whatsoever as to who's behind tbe microphone and causes moments of rapture time after time.
After "Earthbound" and its highly impressive display of skill, the title track (divided into six parts) begins, which lasts twenty minutes all in all and probably won't send only the reviewer on a trip through many different worlds of emotion, but take every metal fan desperate for some variety on a roller coaster ride as well. "Part 001" is a wonderful acoustic piece with angelic vocals, relaxed, emotional and the grand preparation for the epic and rockin' groovy "Part 002", which once more underlines the limitless capacity of TWIN ZERO. On "Part 003" they essentially open Pandora's box, for the brute primordial power, which already froze your facial features on "Earthbound" like an icy cold winter storm, is back. Confidence, despair and beauty go hand in hand on "Monolith" and the lines continue to blur, something "Part 004" also proves quite distinctly. One shiver after the other goes down your spine and the goose bumps bought a season ticket for the duration of the album, which is only very rarely the case nowadays, considering all those mediocre releases. TWIN ZERO pull out all the stops of their skill and longtime experience, and as such I can already state that "Monolith" will be one of the outstanding albums of 2005. But back to the text or rather to the mighty title track, which still is going strong and calms down a little on "Part 005", allowing for some comforting relaxation. With the last chapter and thus with "Part 006", the steamroller once again rolls out of your speakers and effortlessly tears the quiet, painfully established beforehand, to pieces within a split second. Particularly during such moments, TWIN ZERO annihilate everybody and everything, but always leave a light at the end of the tunnel and never tear the song kept in excess length out of its context. A masterpiece without a doubt.
The finale consists of the instrumental "Sixteen", which can quite appropriately be called Noise and brings an album to a conclusion that is without equal and is almost bursting at the seams with highlights. After a respite of about two minutes (let's not call it a "hidden track" in this case), keyboard sounds surface again and bring an end to "Monolith" once and for all. Here's some well-meant advice while we are at it: before you begin playback of this sensational album, simply hit the "repeat" button, for one thing is for sure: you will be addicted to "Monolith" right from the first spin, and should this masterpiece have you so enthralled as to make moving impossible, there won't be any obstacles in the way of further aural attacks. What else but the very highest possible rating would be appropriate here, then? Correct, nothing, so here's the first flat "10" of 2005 from me! (Online April 18, 2005)