Being on hiatus for two years can definitely put in a dint in any band, whether it be performance, passion or overall drive to continue the project itself. Having taken the two-year hiatus due to personal issues and collecting themselves mentally, many thought that the djent overlords in Monuments were no more, including me. Earlier this year, the band began to bring things back from the grave, posting album recording updates and whatnot, and fans all across the globe were more than excited for the talented quintet to return to the stage once again. The day before they dropped AOTY material ‘Phronesis’, the band began to embark on the Phronesis tour across Europe, taking the mighty VOLA, the overly talented Kadinja and newcomers Atlas along for the ride, and during this trip they stopped over in the gorgeous capital of Poland, Warsaw.
Having travelled roughly five hours for this show, I already knew what I was in for, seeing the top three bands on the bill at the iconic Euroblast Festival in Cologne, Germany, and if that wasn’t an incredible show, this one definitely was. Whilst the venue in Poland was the size of Wrangler Studio’s in Melbourne, the bands managed to pack it out before Atlas even started.
Set to open up the show were the opening band of the touring lineup, Atlas. Hailing from Finland, I had heard them a few times before due to the recommendations of Buster Odeholm, and I had high hopes for the young band to truly set the vibes for the night. The band wasted no time in creating a mass amount of energy to get the crowd hyped up, smashing their drop F djent/metalcore sound on top of the heads of everyone in the venue. Right from the get go, the band began bellowing out mindblowing breakdowns, showcasing their Finnish talents to the absolute max.
Vocalist Patrik Nuorteva did an amazing job hyping up the crowd, as they were unresponsive at first (due to them being a relatively unknown band, fair enough), but if that wasn’t enough for the crowd, bassist/vocalist Leevi Luoto helped maintain that influx of hype throughout the set, with both Luoto and guitarist Tuomas Kurikka throwing themselves into the crowd, keeping each audience member engaged throughout their set.
Next up were French djent icons Kadinja, and if you have not heard of the band before, get yourself onto it right now. The musical capabilities of all the members alone is something to behold on record, but they’re one of the few technical bands that can not only pull off what they’ve written to the highest extent, but present their stage presence in such a way that will truly blow your mind. The shared abilities between guitarists Pierre Danel and Quentin Godet is something that I’ve only ever witnessed a handful of times in my life, along with drummer Morgan Berthet’s precision and vocalist Phillipe Charny Dewandre’s almost pitch perfect performance, I can guarantee will leave you drooling.
Beginning their set with their latest single Empire, Kadinja went straight into overdrive and provided the ultimate technical prowess and precision that will make every single musician just wet themselves and want to quit. Playing bangers from their incredible album ‘Ascendancy’ such as Till the Ground Disappears, Episteme and GLHF, Kadinja have proven themselves as absolute show stealers.
Next up were Swedish/Danish band VOLA, and man, they were something else. I would never have thought that combining the 70s style progressive rock, electronica and djent was a good idea, but this band have ultimately proven that not only is it possible, it can work if it is done right. Opening the set with the unbelievably heavy Smartfriend, it was the perfect opener to such an intriguing, captivating setlist, especially since the Meshuggah influence is uncanny, but done extremely well. Performing other songs such as Ghosts and Alien Shivers, the band’s performance on the night was on point.
Finally, it hit 22:30 and next up were the mighty Monuments, the band that so many Polish djent kids showed up to watch. Along with their set in Euroblast, the band opened up with the first single from Phronesis, A.W.O.L, perfectly opening their set with pure heaviness and intensity that’s hard to come by in a lot of songs these days. Whilst guitarist John Browne began to experience a few technical difficulties from his instrument, rather than throwing off the whole band off of the whole performance, they all went with it incredibly smoothly to a point where it was mindblowing. The band’s set consisted of a range of new and old tracks, performing songs such as Doxa, Regenerate, Origin of Escape, Stygian Blue and Mirror Image, amongst others.
What was easily the most memorable moment of the night however, was when Monuments brought a Polish fan onto the stage to perform I, The Creator with them, but on an actual hurdy-gurdy. If you aren’t familiar, it’s an incredibly ancient Polish folk instrument and it was one of the most incredible, funniest and interesting moments I have witnessed in my entire life, and props to her as well, because she completely nailed it, even playing the djent sections on the instrument!
Overall, this show was one of the most incredible shows that I’ve been to in Poland, whether it be the vibe of it, the intimacy or the all-around atmosphere of young kids with a love and passion for music having the absolute times of their lives.