Monty Are I is a band that is not on very many people’s radar, which is a real shame considering how outstanding Break Through The Silence is. Following their hit-or-miss debut, Wall Of People, Monty Are I found how to capitalize on their best qualities as a band in their sophomore album, discovering their identity in the process. They refer to their own style as “action rock,” a term that is particularly accurate considering their knack for producing truly epic pieces of music as “In This Legacy,” the band’s stand out hit off the 2006 debut album, can attest to. Monty Are I does branch into experimental territory at times, but for the most part, the addition of keyboards, synthesizers, trombone, trumpet, and even strings in some instances makes for some grand rock anthems. This unconventional band is sure to blow some people away if they are lucky enough to discover it.
“Break Through The Silence” wastes no time in applying the description of “epic” to the group, kicking off with synthesizers leading into an entrancing guitar riff. Lead singer and guitarist Stephen Aiello adds to a very catchy beat with shrill but composed vocals, while the dual vocals of guitarist and trumpeter Ryan Muir give the song further zest. The song really shines in the middle however. Here, Monty Are I showcases a climactic breakdown of intensity in the guitar riffs with a superb bass backdrop from Michael Matarese along with synthesizers from keyboardist and trombonist Andrew Borstein. Lyrically, this song conveys a very hopeful message with dynamic execution that sheds some light on the meaning of the term “action rock.”
“Hope” immediately grabs attention with a deep guitar revving its engine before igniting into a mesmerizing riff that a shrill guitar and synthesizer accompaniment quickly reinforce. This enthralling intro, the explosive guitar riffs and an epic chorus make this song about desperation for hope the best on the album. The addition of strings lends to the drama of the song, at some points giving it almost an Arabic-themed feel. This is the essence of Monty Are I and action rock at its best.
“One In A Million” starts off with a synthesizer intro that builds speed just in time for another high-pitched vocal performance from Aiello for the chorus, a pitch he somehow manages to execute with complete composure. A spunky drum beat from Justin Muir gives it some flavor before a repetitive but baffling guitar riff at the song’s mid-point steals the show and starts up a climactic bridge. The song’s ending then calls the riff back for a heavier finish that is absolutely killer.
“Kaleidoscope” – A soft drum beat and synth backdrop make for a mellow beginning while Aiello’s hushed yet melodic voice seems constricted: these elements combine superbly to convey the mischievous and enchanting nature of the song. Lyrically this is as good as it gets, and although this is not the best track on the album, it definitely has the most flair. The song emanates style, especially when trumpets kick in before each brassy declaration of the chorus: “Call it a dangerous obsession (you can pretend you won’t get caught); I’ve got a dangerous confession (this is a game I’ve never lost); It’s known as competition if you learn the ropes, like a kaleidoscope, when I give you a spin…I am in.”
“All Of You” gives the group a chance to show some versatility, and they certainly don’t let it go to waste with this slower romantic piece. Aiello’s performance is appropriately reserved for the majority of the track, which gives him a chance to showcase the melody in his voice. Between the soft vocals, occasional piano notes and heartfelt (and slightly seductive) lyrics, this is a perfect slow song for a nap playlist.
“Convoy Of Angels” – A look at the track listing shows that Break Through The Silence features some pretty creative names, but unlike some bands that use random and long song names, these titles are actually backed up by the music. This tremendous closer starts off slow with a mysterious vibe before quickly giving way to some kickass guitar riffs. The fast-paced strumming and drums allow for another guitar to come in and seal the deal. The chorus is just as impressive lyrically as it is vocally, really accentuating the agony and desperate need for divine intervention. Although this type of song isn’t exactly a conventional closer, its captivating final drum beat and guitar riff appropriately put the exclamation point on an epic album.
Monty Are I accomplished quite a feat by taking the likable components of their debut and staying true to who they are as a band while expanding on their sound, the definition of any great sophomore effort. Monty Are I have created a breakthrough album with Break Through The Silence, maintaining the band’s trademark brand of epic music and adding astounding guitar riffs to make it more accessible for everyone. A unique group with flair like this deserves recognition and is sure to garner a respectable amount in the future. Fans of Before Their Eyes, Conditions, Just Surrender, The Audition, There For Tomorrow, Saosin, or anyone looking for some fast-paced rock will enjoy this surprisingly exceptional band.
Final Score: 7.9/10
Rank: 1st (two total albums)
- Break Through The Silence
- The Stand
- One In A Million
- Making Sounds
- Sand Riders Doomsday
- All Of You
- On The Wire
- Convoy Of Angels