Monuments was started as a side project of John Browne (of Fellsilent) and Josh Travis (of The Tony Danza Tapdance Extravaganza, which I have to say is one of the best names of a band I’ve ever heard!) in 2005. Josh Travis then left the band in 2010. Monuments continued as a home studio project up until 2010 when they had various line-up changes, got a band together and started performing live.
They self-released an EP in 2011, The Only Way We Know. Following this, in 2012 Monuments signed with Century Media Records and released their debut Album, Gnosis. After this, the band went through several vocalist changes before settling down with Ex-Periphery Vocalist Chris Barretto.
Monuments want to disassociate away from “djent” as a genre because John Browne finds it a silly word to describe a genre with. It could also be that as a progressive band who’s second album is radically different to the first, they don’t want to limit themselves to a single genre. They want to keep on growing as a band and keep creating new and interesting music that is exciting and fulfilling.
As part of moving away from the djent movement, they have started recording the instruments being played as opposed to recording all the guitars via the Axe-Fx and programming the drums as well as other effects which are somewhat traditional amongst djent bands. They want the music played off the album to be the same as what they would play live. No tricks. Just raw music. I love it.
For those who are here for the djent, Monuments debut album has that groovy djent chug we all know and love. And if you don’t love it then I suggest you may be on the wrong site!
Monuments have had a reasonable amount of mainstream success, unusual for the metal scene. In 2007 Monuments got one of their songs as the track of the week on BBC Radio 1, then they played a live set as part of the Radio 1s rock show in 2013.
Unfortunately, after their second album, they came into some highly unfortunate circumstances. In 2015, the band made it out to Australia to play at the Soundwave festival. After finishing this the band did not get paid in full for their performance. This is shocking considering how little these musicians make to begin with. Djent is not the genre that will make you rich. So because of this Monuments turned to crowdfunding to help recuperate their losses and help fund the third album and tour. Check it out for and donate here!
I looked into this further and found that Soundwave 2016 was cancelled and was not set to return in 2017. Not sure what was going on behind the scenes, but it does not sound good to me.
For those new to Monuments check out I, The Creator
The Run Down
Guitar – John Browne
Browne started playing guitar when he was 10 years old. He then Co-created Fellsilent in 2003-2009 and in 2005 began working on Monuments in his spare time.
Now that Monuments are a full-time band he has begun a solo studio project in his spare time called John Browne Flux Conduct. The debut Album of Flux Conduct , Qatsi is a fourteen track conceptual piece that takes the listener on a journey through war, balance and transformation. Browne also sells various tone packages for the POD which you can buy off of his website.
Browne also runs Bear Noize Studio which offers mixing, mastering and production services for bands.
Guitar – Olly Steele
Steele’s journey into Monuments when he was supporting TesseracT in his band Cyclamen. Mike Malyan, who was the drummer of Monuments at the time, introduced himself and let slip that Paul Ortiz of Chimp Spanner wouldn’t be playing with them full time so they would be looking for a new guitarist. Steele then pursued this position relentlessly until he got himself a 7-string and an 80string and became a fully-fledged member of the band in 2011.
Bass – Adam Swan
recognisable for his colossal dreadlocks, Swan has been the Bass player for Monuments since 2010. While not rocking out with Monuments he is also part of the live band for Chimp-Spanner.
Swan didn’t start playing bass seriously until he was 14, he was completely self-taught until he went to study music at college and graduated with distinction.
Vocals – Chris Barretto
Barretto has been on lead vocals and smashing out bitching Saxophone solos live on stage since 2013. Previous to this he has had quite the rollercoaster through various bands. Starting at the vocalist periphery before Spencer Sotelo came on board and then moving on to play as part of HAARP Machine and Ever Forthright.
Barretto was fortunate enough to get a lot of creative freedom when he joined Monuments. This meant that he was able to lay down all the lyrics and vocals for the second album Amanuensis.
Drums – Anup Sastry
Sastry is a highly talented musician who got picked up to play as part of Jeff Loomis’s live band after Loomis watched one of his covers online and was so impressed he contacted him and found he played in a few great bands and got him on board.
He was also the drummer for Skyharbor up until 2015 when he joined Monuments. While in Skyharbor he was also in Intervals, again up until 2015.
Aside from being involved with so many great bands he has a self-titled solo project with a full album available through Bandcamp. Through this, he is working towards being and audio engineer and producer.