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Sunday, December 3, 2023

Review: Koronus – Eye of the Monolith

Label: Prog Metal Rock Promotion

Date: April 24th, 2021

If you want to get my attention in 2021 and you have a concept album, my ears are all yours!

When I received this album, the first thing that crossed my mind was – this might be boring. Somehow, my brain processes any kind of music with the sign of progressive as boring. But, I am not shallow minded, so, after I dug deeper, I discovered everything but not boredom.

The big plus goes for the album concept. “Eye of the Monolith” is based on ancient Mayan civilizations which is the field of my interest over the years. Through nine songs, duo behind the name Koronus, Kyle McGinley (vocals, guitars, drums, piano) and Vishnu Vijayan (bass), are leading us through the multi-layer fictional story, well composed, well played, well sung…

And the story goes like this…

Mayans are discovering an ancient monolithic structure in a nearby forest and what else they would do? I know what I would. Explore it! But they hear some sounds, whispers and their curiosity grows. Curiosity, fear, respect, excitement are the feelings that permeate the album. The monolith leads them to the great discovery: treasure and gold! But as they greedy started to take as much as they can, they will discover corpses. Curse might that be? But this group doesn’t give up, they want more! Darkness! Their enemy. Now, they are lost and trapped deep inside the cave. Whispers led one of them to the light, but is that a savior? Oh, no! Those whispers belong to the ghosts of Primordials. They will tell their story. Mayan has found the light in the center of the monolith, so bright… Furthermore, we will discover who the Primordials are. They came from the Proxima Centauri system, and after they faced extinction, some of them were sent on a journey to Earth. Mayan might be confused and scared from what he heard, but he continues his exploration. He continues his journey to the center of the monolith, where the light becomes brighter. The light turns to be in a form of big eye that actually is the energy from the souls of ancient Primordials. The eye hypnotized Mayan; he has lost control over his own body. But he has to find the way to escape. Where should he go? Back to the darkness. Blood from the walls, whispers so loud, so aggressive and frightening. The Mayan seems to have escaped, he has found his fellows, warned them and now they can run away together. When the Mayans gathered and though they have found the way out they felt the energy of the eye. Are they safe? On the contrary. They have threatened the world. The Only way to save it is to push the evil back and seal it. The war begins. Mayans and Primordials. Who will control the land? Who will win and who will lose. I don’t know about you, but I am on the Mayan side all the time. Will we have a happy ending or not, I will not discover. You have to explore on your own. The key is in the “Eye of the Monolith”, if you listen to it carefully, you will find the answer.

The album is dominated by slow tempo, but don’t be fooled. There are some songs, especially in the second half of the album, where Mr. McGinley shows his enormous talent. Speaking of vocals, it seems McGinley’s melancholic vocals are reserved for the first couple of songs, and as the album is progressing he will unleash his energy, bit of aggression. Everything flows naturally; the sound is clean, production at high level.

There is nothing to say about music, we are facing here with multi-talented artists who obviously know their job.

Overall, this is an interesting project, great concept. I hope the story will continue on the next releases. Personally, I enjoyed the second half of the album, simply, because it is more aggressive, darker, heavier, develops and solves a story, dynamic enough to hold listeners’ attention even in the epic “Exiled” (13:46). The song titles suggest and naturally follow the story so you won’t be afraid that you may have missed something.

Koronus bought me with developing a story around the ancient Mayan civilization. Great debut album and great background for a movie or a book, but I will be satisfied with one video for the start.