It can be easy to overlook a promising new artist in the endless sea of new bands floating out there, but every once in a while something worthy of note pops to the surface, and one such discovery is Bavaria’s The New Black. The German metellars certainly aren’t new, they have been spinning their own brand of hard rocking groove for nearly a decade. A Monster’s Life is, in fact, the quintet’s fourth studio album, but it is however the first not self-produced. For that, the band reached out to Jacob Hansen (Volbeat, Doro, Primal Fear, Pretty Maids) to twiddle the knobs and provide some direction.
A Monster’s Life begins its journey with “A Long Time Coming” coming, a track driven by the muscular and bouncing riffing of Christof Leim and Fabian Schwarz. The song has a bit of Southern groove flavor taken to a higher level by Fludid’s powerful and melodic vocals.
“Blockbuster Life” is off to the races in a dance of spiraling guitar work and the propulsive crush of drums from Chris Weiss. More grooves, Günt Auschrat’s rumbling bass, and big chanted vocals make this an early stand out on the record. There is something playful about this song that gives it a somewhat addictive quality.
That thick Nola-style groove returns on bending riff that winds through “With a Grin”. A chanted chorus of “Godzilla with a grin, do you want to be my Tokyo?” plays over the song’s chugging rhythm.
The pace slows for the emotive and poignant vibe of “Send in the Clowns”, and once again the nuance of Fludid’s voice is showcased. Leim adds a nice solo just before the tempo picks up at the bridge. “Dead in the Water” jumps out in animated fashion with an energetic finger in the air to the band’s detractors.
A personal favorite on the record is “Buddha Belly” which demonstrates another side of Fludid’s amazing vocal prowess. The song rolls out with a swampy Southern feel that builds to a spirited chorus replete with a chanting backing choir.
A touch of the oriental gives way to crunchy fretwork on the enthusiastic cheek ode to excess, “Beer of No Return”. Leim throws down another tasty solo here. Auschrat and Weiss pace “A Pill Named Ting”, a tongue-in-cheek throw down with another gang choir and a big hooky chorus.
The album closes out with the fist-pumping rocker, “Better” and, “Your Poison Not Mine”, which lyrically plays on the old proverb; “Holding onto anger is like drinking poison and expecting the other person to die.” Both tracks features crackling solos by Schwarz.
In all, A Monster’s Life is a quietly spectacular album that sneaks up on you. The songs are finely honed bits of infectious ear candy with strong performances all around, capped by Fludid’s amazing vocals. The record abounds in huge, catchy choruses, crisp rhythms, lively lyrics, and fantastic production: It’s a serious album that doesn’t take itself too seriously. A Monster’s Life proves The New Black is the real deal.