Amelia’s Magazine | Thumpermonkey Lives! : “We Bake Our Bread Beneath her Holy Fire‏” : An Album Review


We don’t often review works of the Metal category in Amelia’s. The reason for that is that it’s dominated by emotionally retarded angries who didn’t get on all that well with puberty. (For those of you wondering why that is, I have done some research which has uncovered this tale: Clever man called Tony invents new style of guitar, and forms band to share it with the world. Sadly, he forms this band with a vocalist called Ozzy and a lyricist called Geezer, who could only write songs about martians, dragons, goblins, Satan, war, pigs, and hating your parents. This was extremely influential, and is estimated to have ruined around 16million lives worldwide.*)
Thumpermonkey Lives! are a bit different. Obviously, they still like the big scary chords, and the chugging sheer forceful meatiness of it all. Otherwise, we couldn’t class them as Metal. Yet their universe is one that is at once more real and also more profound than fans of Sabbath-derivatives are used to. And also very silly-and-loving-it, at times.


“We Bake Our Bread Beneath Her Holy Fire” is admittedly an album about toast, masturbating, feeling invincible in the midst of great devastation, dark passions in labotatories, and receiving communications about Swiss bank accounts registered to deceased Nigerians with your surname – all subjects that you could stretchily associate with the stereotypical moody adolescent nerdboy market. But it has stupendous amounts of depth, narrative beauty, and a greater skill for wielding the machinery of massive-sounding guitars and drums (and some luscious piano and harpsichord. Grrr.). Whoever’s writing the lyrics is only emotionally retarded in the sense that he’s so overdeveloped he may have difficulty relating to mere mortals. The joy of the Thumpermonkey experience is partly feeling a duty to rise to this level yourself, thus forsaking all your worldly life.


I’m hopelessly underqualified to discuss influences for these chaps. I can declare that System Of A Down are mere babies before them, and that Metal’s Kooky Wizard-Emperor of Wit, Mike Patton (thus far, the only metallic hero I have fully embraced) would probably poo in a shoe with excitement. If anyone remembers Bobby Conn and the Glass Gypsies, you’ve got a toehold on the idea here. As for those of us not in the Metal arena, it is enough to say that Metal has finally opened a door worth going in, a door marked “Thumpermonkey Lives!”, written sarcastically in blood on an enormous piece of toast.


I’m supposed to be reviewing this here new album of theirs, but it reeeally neeeeds to go into context. Yes, it’s got their best production yet. And five of it’s six songs are vividly beautiful, with many heart-tickling moments. But is it the best place to start, when there are about five previous albums? I’m going to say NO for two very good reasons. One: All of their other albums are completely free!!!!!!!!!!! Two: “We Bake Our Bread…”, for all its confident majesty, has not a single bar of accessible catchy hit. Oh, I feel cheap (in so many ways) for saying it, but you can download “Chap With The Wings…Five Rounds Rapid” (two albums ago), which has two and a half hits, and much raw brilliance besides (though it needs remastering or some shiz). Once inducted into the Monkeyworld with this welcome mat of an immature masterpiece, stranger and proggier albums (like this one I’m supposed to be reviewing) will prepare to assault you and turn you into the enlightened happy moshfreak that lies hidden within your inner folds of potential. I’m only thinking of you. You will yield.
Especially if you go and see them live. Woody, trussed up in his ironic orange jumpsuit, delivers a magnificent falsetto which smoothly blossoms into a wincing growl as if he had his finger on a slider for it. The intricate play of his guitar and that of foppish sex-titan Rael Jones is like a salmon and creme fraiche baguette that’s excitingly just a bit too large to swallow. Pounding yet detailed beats from Ben Wren tighten this package to perfection. You will yield.

And sometimes the do a Gregorian chant-style acapella thing. You will yield.
Unless… well, maybe you just don’t have the secret metal gene (not everyone does, but I didn’t really think I had it until I was Thumpered). Or maybe you do have the metal gene, but you prefer the emotionally retarded angry stuff. In which case, how did you come to be reading Amelia’s? Get thee to Kerrang, fool!
Everyone else, get some Thumpermonkey Lives! It’s free, remember?
You can get “We Bake Our Bread Beneath her Holy Fire” from Genin Records.
*if you’ve been affected by the issues raised in my short history of Metal, call Ozzy on 08000-666

Categories ,”Ozzy” Osbourne, ,album, ,Black Sabbath, ,metal, ,music, ,review, ,System of a Down

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