Monkey Diet -
Ant Death Spiral

(CD 2023, 44:40, Black Widow Records)

The tracks:
  1- Hungry Horace(6:02)
  2- Ant Death Spiral(7:13)
  3- Sleeping Sand, Silent Cloud(10:05)
  4- Marsquake(5:04)
  5- Raptus(3:48)
  6- Special Order 937(6:52)

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To be honest, I was not aware of the fact that there is an Italian band named Monkey Diet. They have already released their debut Inner Gobi April 2017. And now they come up with their second effort Ant Death Spiral. Monkey Diet found themselves from different musical paths, with the common thread of progressive rock uniting three eclectic musicians: Daniele Piccinini (formerly of Accordo Dei Contrari) on bass and synthesizers, Gabriele Martelli (PropheXy) on guitar and synthesizers, and Roberto Bernardi (Genesis tribute band Altare Thotemico) on drums.

On Ant Death Spiral the band offers an acrobatic mix of rock/jazz/metal, progressive rock, space rock, psychedelia and fusion that leave no one indifferent. From the first listening the complex compositions bring us a rare technical mastery and a marked melodic taste. Their sound is characterized by a strong sound impact, without any hesitation, without any note left to chance. Notes that fit together perfectly in an orchestral way, where each instrument has its own line which together with the others produce even complex harmonic alchemies, sometimes made dramatic by distortions and stoner and doom fusions. The drums stands at the center of the complex instrumental compositions. Compositions on which the musicians are not looking for studio sound artefacts that cannot be reproduced live. It seems rather that you are listening to live takes and jam sessions.

On this record a number of collaborators joined the musicians to make this excellent album.
Eric Gales (Pinnick Gales Pridgen) lead guitar on Sleeping Sand, Silent Cloud. Silas Neptune (real name Silas Wynne from Ozric Tentacles) keyboards on Marsquake. Donella Del Monaco (Opus Avantra) wordless vocals on Sleeping Sand, Silent Cloud. Nicola Schelfi vibraphone on And Death Spiral. And Riccardo Lolli keyboards on Special Order 937. Together they created a fantastic sounding album with musical influences that might have been taken from bands such as King Crimson, Liquid Tension Experiment, Ozric Tentacles, Rush, Deep Purple, Black Sabbath and Led Zeppelin.

I can't mention any song in particular which is a musical highlight. Maybe the Ozric Tentacles sounding Marsquake. Or maybe the King Crimson sounding Sleeping Sand, Silent Cloud. Well I guess none of those, because the entire album is for me personally one big musical highlight. Each and every track is of a very high level and there is so much to explore and to enjoy after every listening session. No weak compositions at all. Bravo for that!

Also noteworthy is the beautiful art graphic by Russ Mills which recalls the ghostly figures of Giacometti.

Ant Death Spiral is a fascinating work of art without any doubt. Of course there is always room for improvement, otherwise they could stop making albums after this release. The album certainly requires more listening to be fully appreciated. But that is required for most new albums released. I can only give my compliments to this strong instrumental trio who have delivered an outstanding album. I am already looking forward to their successor. Highly recommended to everybody who enjoys the music made by the bands mentioned earlier!

**** Henri Strik (edited by Tracy van Os van den Abeelen)

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