Tuesday 13 October 2020

Turtle Skull - Monoliths (Album Review)

Release date: August 28th 2020. Label: Art As Catharsis/Kozmik Artifactz. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Monoliths – Tracklisting

1.Leaves 06:58
2.Rabbit 04:01
3.Heartless Machine 06:59
4.Why Do You Ask? 06:54
5.Who Cares What You Think? 07:22
6.Halcyon 04:36
7.Apple Of Your Eye 06:40
8.The Clock Strikes Forever 11:42


Tobia Blefari - Percussion (congas, rain stick, shaker, tambourine)
Julian Frese - Bass, piano, vocals
Dan Frizza - Synths
Charlie Gradon - Drums, vocals
Dean McLeod - Guitars, vocals


Turtle Skull debut album released in 2018 was a favourite of mine when it was originally released with the bands unique style of Doom, Psych, Pop, Stoner, Sludge and Experimental Noises allowing the band to playing mostly to their strengths for their album to truly standout. Fast forward 2 years and the back with their even better follow-up with Monoliths.

The band continue with their almost dream-like style of Psychedelic Pop but merged with a heavier reliance and balance on Doom Metal, Sludge Rock and Stoner Metal for a more dramatic style of music with cinematic riffs appearing from the very start. The band aim for a much bigger sound on Monoliths and it works especially on the longer tracks such as Leaves, Heartless Machine, Why Do You Ask?, though they leave some of the best sounds and creative ideas for the bombastic final 12 minute track – The Clock Strikes Forever.

You can say that Turtle Skull draw influence from King Gizzard & The Lizzard Wizzard, Japanese Psychedelic Rock, SLEEP, Black Sabbath and even Elephant Tree in places. Though, this album is most definitely Turtle Skull’s chance to shine in the spotlight. Their use of different musical instruments set against a backdrop of heavy Doomed Out Riffs and spectacular Progressive Sludge/Stoner Metal grooves is what makes the album work for me. In essence, this album shouldn’t really work as it ultimately does. As there’s many different elements in this album that allow the listener to drift off into many different directions.

The vocals are nothing short of absolute perfection. The perfect harmonies from the 3 vocalists that are listed within Turtle Skull have shades of 60s/70s Psychedelic Rock and even Classic Rock running throughout the entire album. You could be treated to a beautiful vocal harmony and the band unleash a heavy blast of Doom Riffs such as on the stunning 2nd track – Rabbit.

The production on Monoliths is brilliantly put together with the band showing many different sides throughout this album and even the quieter parts are equally as good and just as dynamic as the heavier moments that will no doubt bring the Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal community to the Turtle Skull party.

Overall, Monoliths is multi-layered album bursting with different themes and ideas that will take time to fully understand but you will be treated to a different musical experience every time you listen to this wonderful and genuinely exciting album. This is one album you would be wise not to miss.

Words by Steve Howe

Monoliths is available to buy now on CD/DD/Vinyl via Art As Catharsis (Australia) and Kozmik Artifactz (Europe).

Thanks to Art As Catharsis, All Noir PR and Turtle Skull for the promo.


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