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Album Reviews : Bane of Bedlam – Monument of Horror

By on March 16, 2014

1186223_606082696109093_2066269685_nBane of Bedlam is a band with a somewhat troubled past, but then what band in the local scene hasn’t had its share of shake-ups and misfortune? In this instance I refer to matters made more public; you see, in this digital age, news travels before you even know something has happened. To those of you who know of the incidents, be you a fan, someone concerned or even a member of the band, then I will go on record here and say that none of that which has passed impacts my judgments on this album. I don’t even know why I bring this up, I wasn’t even remotely involved; but, with that said, it is telling of a band, and a cultural state as whole, where any kind of negative word of mouth can cripple a band. The way I see it there are two ways any band can counter this. 1: Bow out, move on and re-invent themselves (or just disappear) or 2: Take that energy, that negativity, and channel it into your craft.

Bane of Bedlam has firmly opted for #2 in their 2014 release Monument of Horror, and (if you’ll forgive the cliché, which, by now, you ought to, if you’ve read any of my previous reviews) the crowd goes wild! What Bane of Bedlam have brought to the table here is a solid, livid and furious album that torrents with aggression; the kind of work that feels like you’re witnessing a violent outburst and can’t help but be caught up in. It’s like watching (or, in this case, listening to) someone beating the life out of another (drug dealer, pedophile, Member of Parliament; take your pick) and wanting to join in and get in a few licks of your own. Without putting too fine a point on it, and without mixing any metaphors, Monument of Horror is exactly as I have described; a vicious eruption made musical.

Now, I will be the first to admit that this is not my usual fare when it comes to metal; whilst I have an appreciation for the kind of aggressive thrashy death metal that bands that likes of Bane of Bedlam offer up here, I often find myself lacking interest in it. That said, whilst I am hardly converted from my way of thinking, I find myself really enjoying this album. There is something deeply infectious in the energy that comes out from these tracks; with every facet of the band on display, from their bracing and imposing-as-hell drums and clang and rupture of bass, to the raw and relentless rhythms that pulse and rush with a steady, if not understated groove.

The introduction to this album will catch you off guard, as Woken by The Horde begins in a pretty typical fashion, and I would call it sophomoric if not for what follows; a flash to the past, with a brief interlude that would not be amiss in an early Testament track, to a sudden burst into mad choler. From there, the energy keeps on coming, with track after track of more of the same. This kind of works against Bane of Bedlam in the sense that thought they are outstanding, if not severe, in maintaining this sort of energy there are moments where the album sounds like it has gone as far as it can go. Then, the next song comes on and though it is another incensed, aggression-fest, it only serves to pump you up a bit further, harder and angrier. Though you could easily see Monument of Horror as a work that has only one colour to its pallet, it does not spread itself too thin. Whilst the emotions of anger, hostility and antagonism pervade the entirety of this album it knows what to do with them and how to use them, and it is here that you can really get a feel for the album.

On initial plays of the album you may think that it is a one trick pony, and it does that trick very well mind you, that has all this energy but nowhere to go with it. The production on Monument of Horror really gives a good veneer to the tracks, making everything fiercely defined and strikingly clear; you’ll hear some truly turbulent melodies and flourishes on the bass that are a true testament to the talent of the members; however it almost feels like it works against it as well. Whilst you have access to all the little intricacies of Bane of Bedlam, the rich and potent layers of music that have some considerable depth to them, it gives off the sensation of confinement. Good production is worth its weight in gold, and while it is great here it almost feels like you’re missing out on a bit of extra animosity. Whereas it shines in songs like Atrocity Divine, a song that gives a lot of scope to the band’s milieu, it also fails titles like Vultures of War. A double-edged sword, you may agree but it is what it is and does its best to serve to work; but it is the difference between watching a wild animal on a screen and being face to face with it. In that respect I would almost dread going to a Bane of Bedlam show for fear of having my head blown off! (In fact, that may also work in its favour; if this gets you out to more local shows then all the better.)

Monument of Horror holds true to its name in the aspect that it is one monumental work of vicious aggression, animosity and utter rage. Thick with rhythms and full of immodest, intimidating vigor with the pace to match; it is strident and unceasing with a single, solitary moment in which to catch your breath. If anger is the name of your game, and thrashy death metal with some filthy groove is your poison, then this is an album you have to check out. Again, this is not my typical fare, but this album has a few surprises and can certainly get your fire going; if you can get past the sometimes restricting production Monument of Horror will give you a sound kick to the head.

Band: Bane of Bedlum
Album: Monument of Horror
Year: 2013
Genre: Progressive Thrash
Label: Independent
Origin: Melbourne, Australia
www.facebook.com/BaneOfFICIALBedlam

Tracklisting:

1. Woken by the Horde
2. Vultures of War
3. Torture
4. Murder
5. Heavens Ember
6. Voice of a Faceless God
7. The Atrocity Divine…
8. Monument of Horror

About

Hailing from parts unknown (actually, it’s Melbourne), Tristan is a freelance writer and lover of metal, with a special place in his heart for Power and Folk metal. After playing in a number of local Melbourne metal bands, and completing his Bachelor of Arts, Tristan focuses his attention to the pursuit of writing, practicing the Liechtenauer School of swordsmanship, dabbling in Cosplay and reciting Babylon 5 quotes; in addition to hunting for a publisher for his novel. Until then, he enjoys metal, writing about metal and convincing people around his office that he is immortal and has lived for 3,000 years. (So far only the chick in HR is buying it)