ALBUM REVIEW: Imonolith – State of Being
Photo Credit: Erich Saide
At the beginning of 2018, progressive mastermind Devin Townsend disbanded his very successful Devin Townsend Project, after an extensive touring cycle in support of what would become their last album under that moniker, Transcendence. This suddenly left Townsend’s longtime band members out of a “job”. What did they do to get over this? Keyboardist Mike St-Jean became Townsend’s lighting engineer, and drummer Ryan Van Poederooyen and bassist Brian ‘Beav’ Waddell, now switching back to his original instrument of the electric guitar, joined forces to create a band that would become known to the world as Imonolith.
Initially, they were joined by some of the ex-members of Strapping Young Lad, namely bassist Byron Stroud (Zimmer’s Hole, ex-Fear Factory) and guitarist Jed Simon, however they have since amicably parted ways with the band. After securing their replacements, they returned to writing, and then recording the songs for their debut album: State of Being.
After the ominous spoken word intro of State of Being, we are thrust into the first song of the album: Becoming the Enemy, which is also the band’s most recent single. Featuring Johannes Eckerström growling away during the chorus alongside vocalist Jon Howard, this is a solid opening to the album, with a solid groove, a breakdown towards the latter half, and a great, rumbling bassline from Scott Whalen. The album’s third single, Dig, is next and no, it’s not a Mudvayne cover. What it is, though, is a song that you can very easily headbang to, with those distorted and downtuned guitar riffs. The same can be said for follow-up Forgone, which opens with Poederooyen’s pounding drum fills.
Last year the band also released Instinct. Its clean vocal intro and melodic, soaring chorus brilliantly offset the growls during the verses, which can easily remind one of late Static-X singer Wayne Static. We Never Forget (MAS071919) starts off the same way, with Howard singing the chorus accompanied only by Waddell and Kai Huppunen’s guitars, before launching into the track. Breathe, on the other hand, opens with a clean guitar intro, while still retaining the groove that is, by this point in the album, expected of the quintet.
If the previous track was more subdued, what comes next, The Reign, is anything but. The track starts and the immediate reaction is “Holy mosh pit, Batman!” as the chaos slider is set straight to 100. This is by far the heaviest song on offer here, with everyone giving their most intense performances. To these ears, it sounded like it could very easily fit on Slipknot’s Iowa.
The Mourning tones it back down to normal levels, with a djent-y, staccato guitar intro, pounding drums, a melodic chorus yet again contrasting the screams in the verses, and a whammy-filled solo.
The last two tracks make sure that the album closes on a high note. Back in 2019, the five-piece released Hollow as their debut single and boy, did it live up to expectations. While it is quite easily the most accessible song on the record, it is also among the strongest, joined by the last song, Persevere, which ends this eleven-song package with steady rhythms and a melodic solo.
All in all, State of Being is a solid debut album, with plenty of distorted riffs, growling vocals, rumbling basslines and rapid-fire drums. If you’re looking for a lot of variety in your releases this might be slightly disappointing, as there aren’t too many songs that differ from the rest. That being said, however, it is an enjoyable release, and there’s bound to be a few tracks that you’ll love, so check it out!
Standout Tracks: Instinct, Hollow, Persevere
For Fans Of: Threat Signal, Static-X, Strapping Young Lad
Written by: Florin Petrut