The Australian indie rock quartet, Monks of Mellonwah, is back on the music scene with the second part of their new full length CD Turn the People. This new CD is a trilogy. Volume one, Ghost Stories, released in June of 2013 features four songs demonstrating the Red Hot Chili Peppers influence. Afraid to Die that also features four songs, just recently out this October, is volume two. The third will be out December of 2013, not much information on this one yet.
The Monks seem to have a fascination with the triad. Prior to this new effort, in May of 2013 the band released a three track experiential EP named Sky and the Dark Night where they blended "orchestral" sounds with rock vibes. On this EP, they turned their focus on the instrumentals and went light on the vocals, complementing the electronic manipulations while showcasing the skills of the vocalist Vikram Kaushik, bassist John de la Hoyde, guitarist Joe de la Hoyde, and drummer Josh Baissari. It can be said that Sky and the Dark Night is fit for film, building and climaxing in ambitious ways.
In 2012, however, the Monks made appearances in Australia and the United States with their rock groove EP, Neurogenesis, influenced by bands of the 70s and 90s like Pink Floyd and Muse. Neurogenesis was already giving a little inkling to that "orchestral" sound, which made their music newer. One would imagine they were trying to find their niche, but not quite yet there. And one would expect that they would want to keep that "orchestral" flow going, but they have developed this new EP, Afraid to Die, by relying on 90s rock, soft electronics, and mainstream pop culture sounds with little-to-no "orchestral" influence.
The first track on Afraid to Die honors the title of the EP. Starting off with heavy bass and drums, vocalist, Vikram Kaushik, eases into the piece with his dreamy voice while the composition weaves in some exciting synthesized sounds, possibly horns. "Downfall" maintains the rock mode, faster than the first track, but does not depart much from the sound. "Alive for a Minute" adds the verve to the EP with more variation in the vocals and instrumentals, changing the groove and chilling out the album. "I Belong To You" is the most emotional song with acoustic guitar, soft melodies, and the emotive voice of Vikram Kaushik. The track reads like a billet-doux.
The Monks say their music is a collective soul effort that at times expresses the contradictions between the four men. One could say that they are following the footsteps of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. That said--the quartet still needs that piece de résistance to set them apart from them. Albeit, since the Monks of Mellonwah came onto the music scene in 2010 they have made appearances on MTV, won "Best Indie Rock Band" at the 2012 Artist in Music Awards, and won "Best International Rock Artist" at the 2012 L.A. Music Awards. And they have caught the attention of A&R Worldwide who have signed the band and most likely prepare them for the bigger stage.
You can listen to Monks of Mellonwah's Afraid to Die on Soundcloud.