Afraid to Die – Monks of Mellonwah (Australia)


1. Afraid to Die
2. Downfall
3. Alive for a Minute
4. I belong To You

If you’re a fan of the likes of Muse, The Black Keys or even Porcupine Tree, then you’ll want to check out Monks of Mellonwah. They are an alternative indie rock band based in Sydney – and while still very fresh and new in the music scene they’ve recently released another EP, ‘Afraid to Die’, justifying their purpose as a band that seems to experiment with and perfect every aspect of their music possible. Only having a running time of 15 minutes or so, they boast theatrical themes and details, not to mention effortless talent in just four tracks.
The title track ‘Afraid to Die’ (Track 1) is a blockbuster all on its own. The action film style melodies instantly remind me of Led Zepplin’s ‘Kashmir’, maybe a little bit too much actually. However it sounds like a re-mastered version of what it was back in 1975. Of course, the hard rock style doesn’t get old, and the falsetto comes in as a nice touch. I would say as the title track it has done them all great justice – instantly invigorates the feel of the album. The fact that they used undisguised vocals at the end of the song to sing the phrase -Afraid to Die- is really effective – contrasting with the thickened, layered sound throughout the whole song.
Diverging from track 1, ‘Downfall‘ (Track 2) displays pretty basic vocals, not too showy or interesting, but this allows the thrash in the guitars and the killer solo (reminds me of August Burns Red’s guitar solo approach) to come out under the fanciness of the band’s voice – this time, more heavy and convoluted than ‘Afraid to Die’, focusing on the songwriting and the instrumentation.
Now, strikingly different from tracks 1 & 2, we get a nice clean slice of space and emotional charge in ‘Alive For A Minute‘ (Track 3) and finger-plucked guitar strings accompanying heartache in ‘I Belong To You’ (Track 4). ‘I Belong To You‘ lets us all hear the vocalist’s strength in every single lyric that is sung. The tune is stripped down to a guitar, vocals, and some soft “electronic” melodies present – it is certainly a good decision to end the 4-track EP with something as beautiful as this – the raw-ness really reinforces the lyrics: “I still dream of a day of when I’m closer/When I become all that I can be/In my surrender in no conception/I still lose/In my obsession/There’s still no mention of you“.
I’m really looking forward to seeing what they could possibly do with something even bigger – maybe a concept album? If this band is where they’re at in such a short period of time, I have certainly no problem waiting for what they could possibly do later on when they deviate from their influences and find new ones.
-Chloe Cheng

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