REVIEW: Monasteries Are Not So Silent on Third EP [2021]

Artist: Monasteries

Album: Silence – EP

         Monasteries are a bit of a misnomer—and for those of you who have been following the band since their inception, you know this. With a name based in what is supposed to be an austere, serene place of prayer, one might expect something a little more…mundane—but in reality, mundane is about the furthest thing one can get from Monasteries. Creating murderously heavy and marvelously frantic technical deathcore for going on three releases now, the band have become one of the United Kingdom’s rising stars in the underground heavy music scene. And, in keeping with the theme established by their name, their third EP Silence is, well, anything but. A crushing amalgam of spastic breakdowns, grisly grooves and skin-rending riffs, Silence is a sinister display of contemporary deathcore done damned near perfection.

         Instrumentally, Silence follows in the footsteps of Monasteries’ previous releases, demonstrating immense musical intricacy, with precision underlying every exhilarating, energetic breakdown or epileptiform lead. At the foundation of Monasteries’ carefully constructed dynamic is a bounty of high-octane percussion that makes tracks like “Allowing Your Traitors to Die” and “Digital Suicide” to feel like they’re moving at a thousand miles per hour (or about 2,200 kilometers per hour, as the case may be). “Digital Suicide” is an excellent example—not only for its speed, but for it to showcase how effortlessly Monasteries transition between rambunctious speed and ruthless, punishing aggression. Likewise, the record’s introductory track, “Jorugomo Yōkai” sees Monasteries finding their middle ground, with more moderate percussion underscoring a beefy, groovy bass and hefty guitars that give the track immense heft. “One Minute to Midnight” and “Silence (In the Place Where Heaven Should Be Found)” see Monasteries at their most immolating, with every aspect of their style turned up to eleven; here, tight bursts of mach-speed kick drum hits serve as firmament for spastic tremolo-picked breakdowns that spiral into chaotic leads that blur the line between mathcore and deathcore. These songs—coming on the heels of those like “Jorugomo Yōkai”—give even more depth to Monasteries’ dynamic than was seen on Pulmonary Failure, playing to their strengths as a technically inclined act.

         Just as the band’s instrumental elements have taken a leap up in terms of both structure and intricacy, Monasteries’ vocal dynamic has blossomed even further. While Pulmonary Failure saw a new frontman at the helm, it also gave us great vocal variety to play off of Monasteries’ heavier and gloomier soundscape. Here, on a more frantic and break-neck style of deathcore, the band switch it up again. With as much—if not more—variety than ever before, Monasteries lash out with every vocal style imaginable. “Jorugomo Yōkai” sees grisly bellows and mid-range roars taking center stage, while “Digital Suicide” gives the band’s higher pitched screams and screeches a workout. The band’s vocal effort is not only consistent with the high bar set by their previous records, but sees more growth into the less obvious realms of the roles of vocals in heavy music—namely, in providing fluidity to the band’s otherwise unpredictable shifts, and, even more, to be both catchy and insanely diverse.

         Silence is a stellar EP—even if, by now, the listener is hungry for a full length from these UK-based ultraheavyweights. Crushing in every way without skimping on intricacy or technicality, Monasteries have provided the five strongest tracks in their discography to date, abundant in ignorant aggression and mind-numbing intensity.


For Fans Of: Nexilva, Bound in Fear, Left to Suffer

By: Connor Welsh