Sound — 10
From their first 2000 album, "Thanks for the Metal Sign," Monty Are I has gone through, not only a few genres, but a few names as well. Their fourth album, "Break Through The Silence," presents a great listen to their mix of alternative rock vocals, post-hardcore guitars, keyboards, and programming elements. Almost completely abandoning their first Skacore sound, MAI brilliantly mixes rock and electronica, making the band melodically more interesting that bands like Attack Attack! or I Set My Friends On Fire. Steve Aiello's smooth, clean vocals also puts the band far away from the wild screaming of those two bands. But just because it doesn't have screams, doesn't mean the albums weak: Huge choruses, soaring vocals, and quick, hard breakdowns turn the album down some excitingly dark streets. Well-placed brass accents and a musical theme that changes like desert sands makes "Break Through The Silence" a must-hear for the less-aggressive fans of post-hardcore.
Lyrics — 9
Lyrically, Monty Are I can sometimes seem shallow, but it's just that: A spot in the ocean to let you wade in. Take this line from "One In A Million," for instance: "The words infect me like a rare disease And now I'm sick because you lied to me No way to medicate, no turning back One single moment and it all goes bad" and from "On The Wire,": "It's easier to be naive It's harder 'cause I'm losing sleep And ignorance is our best friend Insomnia's the death of dreaming" MAI frequently presents a simile and then quickly feeds off it in the next line, giving us a mental picture and then instantly changing it. It feels like if the scene fits, it isn't left untouched. Steve Aiello's presents a clean cut performance, reaching out to the edges of screaming, sinking into whispering, but being careful to keep comfortably within his vocal range. Ryan Muir (Rhythm Guitar) and Andrew Borstein (Keyboards, Programming) use their own voices to accent Aiello's, frequently chorusing and echoing phrases.
Overall Impression — 9
01. Break Through The Silence: Andrew's keyboard intro suddenly rising into an echoing rock rhythm ready you for the rest of the album. Justin's drums are very simple, but fit the song and direct you towards the guitars and keys. One of MAI's melodious breakdowns reside in this song, and the song itself gets: 9/10 02. The Stand: An echoing chorus and rising guitar launches an orchestral hook. Justin's subtle drum-work is more apparent in this track, and Steve's vocals are perfect, though the chorus is a little clich. I give this track: 8/10 03. Hope: A harder track, Justin raises the level a little and Ryan and Steve's guitars really power the song. Andrew's keyboards and orchestral programming are accenting all the time, but can be easily forgotten until the bridge and final chorus. Another melodic breakdown and huge final chorus allows me to give this song: 8/10 04. One In A Million: Andrew's electronica and Steve's processed vocals make a great twin intro. Justin really pumps it in now and Mike's bass, which was kind of bland before, now steps up, especially in the second verse. Ryan's guitar is now somewhat background, but absolutely awesome if you listen close. The slight breakdown, and the building bridge make it easy to see why this song is the lead single. The incredible self-esteem of the lyrics in this song earn it: 10/10 05. Making Sounds: A quieter song after leaving the monsters behind, "Making Sounds" sounds remarkably close to Linkin Park's "Shadow of the Day." It's driven mostly by Steve's vocals and Andrews programming...At least, until the bridge, where the rest of band truly steps it up. The lyrics are good, but saying "Making Sounds" gets a little repetitive near the end: 7/10 06. Sand Riders Doomsday: This song suddenly takes the album on a turn out of the city and towards the deserts. This song also features a little Ryan's trumpet and Andrew's trombone. Though mostly electronica driven, Ryan's squealies in the embedded solo near the end earns this song: 8/10 07. Kaleidoscope: This song reminds me of something The Cab would play. Keyboards and simplistic drums, with smooth bass, for the verses, until the chorus begins rocking out. You can hear more slight brass, too, along with strings. Steve's lyrics are pretty straight-forward, but that makes this song pretty enjoyable. Because I can't get enough if the bridge and final chorus: 8/10 08. All Of You Tonight: One of the lowest points on the album, Steve basically kicks all the quick similes and metaphores out the window. The lyrics are so generic, it isn't even funny. Andrew's keyboard playing, though, is beautiful, and Ryan's soft guitars really add to it. And either Justin's playing simply, or it's just part of the drum programming. Either way, the music just barely saved his song from getting below a: 6.5/10 09. On The Wire: From such a low point we get one of the best songs on the album. Steve's lyrical sense is back, and Andrew's manipulated drums a perfect for the first verse! The chorus is one the best ones on the album, helping us remember what genre this album is. Steve's vocal performance is the emotional drive of this song and it's rating definitely deserves a: 10/10 10. Desert: That trip we took towards the desert in Sand Riders Doomsday has finally put us out there. Ryan reveals a glimpse of his Ska past with his guitar, and Steve's lyrics and vocal performance are a large part of this song. The brass and strings also round out the unfamiliar edges with the rest of the album. This song gets a: 9.5/10 11. Mirage: Another one of the greatest songs on this album, it continues the desert theme. Andrew's programming and electronica effects, once again, beautifully accent Steve's brilliant vocals. The greatest point of this song are the deep lyrics and make it a definite favorite of mine: 10/10 12. Convoy Of Angels: Mirage echoes out into this ending track, which mixes all the great points of the album into one song. Ryan's mini guitar solos are fantastic, Steve's lyrics and harmonious vocals make the song soar, Justin's drums are simple, but powerful, and Mark marks where this song touches earth. And Andrew's fills and effects really match beautifully. The final song: 10/10 Monty Are I may have left it's Skacore album behind, but they've got the smarts to hold onto old flames to light new ones. A good band doesn't forget who they are if change genres, and MAI seems to have a good hold on where they're at. If you get the chance, give some love for another band that deserves it.