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These Monsters - Heroic Dose (Album Review)

Monday, 13 May 2013 Written by Ben Bland

The long awaited follow up to 2010’s bizarre, yet brilliant, ‘Call Me Dragon’, ‘Heroic Dose’ sees These Monsters take a different approach to their previous efforts. Don’t fear, this is still riotously noisy from beginning to end, and it’s no less weird than the last album either. What has changed is that These Monsters are now more direct in their noise-making, partly one suspects due to their number being whittled down to three and partly due to their own determination to make a record that is, to quote the title of one of ten tracks here, ‘Harder and Faster’.

The opening double salvo of ‘Very Strong, Very Clever’ and ’When the Going Gets Weird’ demonstrates the changes to These Monsters’ sound perfectly. Both are barely restrained blasts of frenzied riffage and demented vocals that hit the listener round the face with the same force as the likes of ‘Dirty Messages’ or the title track from the last album, but this time the next punch is only just round the corner. The dragon was breathing fire from a distance on the last album. Now it’s standing right in front of you and chomping on your thighs with poorly hidden relish.

This may lead some to the conclusion that These Monsters are now less distinct than they were previously. The sax is gone and the slight psychedelic tinge that graced ‘Call Me Dragon’ has been swallowed up by some of the bile best associated with Future of the Left or fellow Leeds tykes Blacklisters. At just twenty-eight minutes, this is a concise, razor sharp record with less of the off-kilter tangents that made ‘Call Me Dragon’ such a giddy listen at points.

In the end though such alterations really don’t make a difference to how brilliantly bizarre These Monsters are. The vocals still deliver lines that will force your throat to submit to hoarseness despite the off the wall lyrical content. The riffs will still make you want to jump around like a crazed kangaroo and the whole package will make you want to take a pretty damn brave, if not quite heroic, dose of whatever it is you particularly fancy. It may be a much changed These Monsters that returns in 2013, but underneath this is still the same utterly mental band. Bravo.

‘Heroic Dose’ is out on Monday via Function Records.

These Monsters play at Leeds’ Wharf Chambers with Blacklisters and Hawk Eyes on 15th June.


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