Bestial Invasion - Monomania

8 songs
36:48 minutes
***** ****


There was a short interval between the late Eighties and early Nineties where a genre that was called techno thrash left a certain mark, but with the advent of Dream Theater and their unstoppable success, most forward thinking metal bands decided to try their luck with the technically demanding but ultimately more streamlined progressive metal genre.

Like so many genres that were believed to be forgotten, they all return eventually for a comeback, although I wouldnít have expected technical thrash metal to come from Ukraine in Eastern Europe. Bestial Invasion are named after a song from Destructionís debut album Infernal Overkill, so that would not make you think of overly complicated music. And yet, this band that was founded in 2014 and has released an album every odd year since then plays a surprisingly melodic kind of technical thrash metal that seems to be mostly inspired by the legendary Watchtower, but also more underground bands like Toxik and Realm might have left their traces.

The quintetís third album Monomania doesnít even start that progressively. The two-minute-long The Period Of Tragedy feels more like an intro than a regular song, and mostly builds up a lot of drama that you would rather expect from a symphonic gothic metal band than from a more technical outfit. Up next is the title track, where the band combines their incredible musical skills with some kind of German inspired power metal ŗ la Gamma Ray. Bestial Invasion donít shy away from running up and down unusual scales just to find themselves back in an extremely catchy chorus. The Angel Of The West Window combines this time the heady prog metal with a strong feeling of King Diamond, with high soaring vocals and a narrative structure that is not unlike the masterís himself. Deny Your Future is a short female led soulful jazz lounge track that leaves me clueless. Itís a nice piece of music but I donít really get what its role on the album exactly is.

And off to the second half with the nearly eight-minute-long The Garden Of Earthly Delights, where we get more of the bandís signature sound: complex instrumentation alternating with melodic choruses where the vocalist sounds like a young Alan Tecchio (Watchtower, Hades...). Memories. The Architect Of The Universe feels less catchy, but the following Sir Francis Drake: The Queenís Pirate always leaves a smile on my face with its earnest music but somewhat silly chorus. The album concludes with a cover version of an old Atheist song, and I have to admit that I prefer Bestial Invasionís own material.

This might have been a candidate for a maximum rating, because I really love how Bestial Invasion donít shy away from melodies in their otherwise very technical music, but subtract the intro, the strange lounge piece and the cover version, and we are only left with half an hour of new original material. There should have been room for two more tracks. Apart from this little and not really significant criticism, Monomania is an album that should appeal to every fan of early technical thrash metal, you know, the kind before Dream Theater gave it all a Disney spin. I end this review with a little piece of trivia: according to the Metal Archives, the bandís current drummer has played in over 100 bands to date!

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