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Music Review: The Almost – Monster EP

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The Almost’s Monster EP is being released in anticipation of the band’s sophomore album, Monster Monster (in stores 11/3). The Almost is the side project of Aaron Gillespie, one of the founding members of Christian metalcore band Underoath.

Monster EP has more of a cohesive band sound, instead of just being the Aaron Gillespie show (Gillespie recorded every instrument on 2007’s Southern Weather). The members of The Almost all collaborated to make this album a complete band effort, and there is a noticeable difference from Southern Weather. Die-hard fans need not worry, the departure is an improvement and isn’t drastic enough to turn them off.

“Lonely Wheel” is the first track on the EP, and it is vintage Almost. Reminiscent of several tracks from Southern Weather, this track serves as a soothing reminder that the band hasn’t abandoned its roots.

“Hands” is the first single off Monster Monster, and with its anthemic chorus and catchy hook it is a great choice. Background vocal chants of “Whoa-oh, Oh Oh Oh!” are just begging for listeners to shout along.

“July” is a fast track with an urgent pace. “It’s getting uglier by the minute/it’s better now that I’m in it,“ cries Gillespie in his distinct voice. This track serves as a kick-in-the-pants, call-to-arms, rally-the-troops sort of pump-it-up song. High school football locker room DJs around the nation, put this on your pre-game mix.

“Monster” begins as an acoustic song in the vein of many of the songs on last year’s No Gift To Bring EP, but it slowly builds into a fantastic extended instrumental interlude featuring the entire band flexing their musical prowess.

“Birmingham” prominently displays the drumming skill of Gillespie (he plays drums on this EP and the upcoming album after the departure of the previous drummer), with bold rhythm changes and a militaristic feel.

The Monster EP is a great preview of The Almost’s upcoming album. For the release of the EP, the band’s label Tooth & Nail are trying a few new different ideas.

First of all, the EP is only going to be available on the band’s website, on their tour, and at the Hot Topic retail chain. The hard copy of the EP will come with two discs. One will contain the five tracks, but the other disc will be blank. On the physical disc, however, track listings for Monster Monster will be printed. This second disc also comes with album artwork and lyrics.

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About Daniel Terracina

  • Meredith Morse

    I love the breakdown explanation of each song; oftentimes album reviews really gloss over the playlist, but this went well in depth, which lent the article sufficient legitimacy. This, I felt, was thorough enough to pique my interest, yet removed enough so that it wouldn’t influence my own opinions of the EP.