The first thing you need to know about Astra Symmetry by Switzerland’s oddly named Monkey3 is that it is long. 12 tracks, a healthy portion of which clock in at over the 6-minute mark. The second is; the album defies pigeon holing. The music on offer wanders everywhere and refuses to stick to any one particular style. If a label were to be forced, astral is possibly the most apt term.
From the middle eastern influenced slow burn of opening track Abyss it’s clear that this will be anything but a typical album. It’s impossible to sum up in the space of this review everything that’s on offer; it’s an album that will offer up something new with repeated spins. The vocals are sparsely spread over the 12 tracks with the band more than happy to let their musical meanderings take the fore; choosing to focus more on atmosphere than spreading a particular message.
The blues-influenced solos pay direct tribute to the 70s greats of Sabbath and Zeppelin (particularly in evidence on Moon and Crossroad) and there are definite doomier elements at play throughout the album. Songs like Seeds and Arch do seem to meander almost aimlessly with no traditional song structure in evidence, but this isn’t quite the criticism some would imagine. In fact, this lack of structure and meandering nature make the songs perfect for sitting in the dark, relaxing and absorbing the atmosphere offered which, I think, is a main aim of the album.
Album closer, Realms of Lights, brings together all the elements of the band and acts as the perfect finish to the unique astral journey on offer here.
Already a heavy hitter in the psychedelic rock movement Astra Symmetry cements Monkey3s’ place at the top of the mountain. A heavy slog, but one worth your time and attention.
Standout tracks: Moon, Crossroad & Realms of Lights