Album Review: Snowfish – The Monster Upstairs

The Breakdown

'The Monster Upstairs' offers a great insight into the trio's potential, both as an and out rock outfit but also as an avant-rock band using electronic elements and varying musical approaches.

Alt-rockers Snowfish deliver the 11 track new long listen ‘The Monster Upstair’ a dystopian exploration of the band’s dark, muddy, multi-faceted sound.

Setting the scene with the intense, overbearing ‘The World Is Burning’ the band quickly introduce their unique blend of rock elements with subtle – intricate acoustic guitar and synth lines. Instantly comparable to the likes of The Smashing Pumpkins, Radiohead with elements of My Chemical Romance, the band manage to capture a grungy rage with snarling vocals whilst also encompassing an atmospheric, otherworldly edge within the instrumentation.

‘Burn From Within’ opens with an almost classic rock-esque guitar riff at first signalling a different side to the bands writing before the tight drums, deep bass and washing synths enter capturing the same atmospheric darkness found in the album’s opener. The raspy, haunting vocals give the track a focal point.

As the punching chorus enters, the band capture an essence of Muse before the track bursts into an explosive guitar solo, closing in an almost alt-metal display as the drums crash through the murky depths of the bands dark sound.

Offering a more gentle approach, the albums third and title track feels reminiscent of Radiohead’s ‘Wolf At The Door’, so much so there even seems to be subtle references throughout the track. The tracks intricate, intertwining picked guitar lines and bouncing bass builds a moody soundscape over a gentled swelling beat, as the spoken word vocals add to the emotive, dystopian intensity.

Elsewhere on the album ‘The Showman’ leans further into the synth side of the bands music before the strikingly emotive vocals enter. As the track progresses towards the realms of new-age metal, the guitar lines become more prominent in an explosive delay of guitar riffs as the pained lead vocal delivers a repetitive, expressive but ultimately infectious chorus. The kind of track you can imagine losing your mind to at a live show as the singer ironically delivers the line ‘this isn’t part of the song’.

The delicate, acoustic guitar led interlude ‘Astronaut’s Song’ offers restitute from the dark intensity of the tracks first half, delivering a dreamy serenity before the album grows into the gentle, Smashing Pumpkins-esque ballad ‘Maybe’.

In the latter stages of the album, the band introduce perhaps some of their most enjoyable, high-energy moments on ‘Middle Name’, a standout track delivery tight driving drums, intertwining melodies and infectious melodies.

Closing with the equally energetic, punk influenced ‘Ghost’, the band represent the kind of energy and catchy hooks which would shine in a live setting.

A solid collection of tracks demonstrating a band with a unique dark, alt-rock identity, floating between alternative and dark, dystopian avant-rock, this is 11 tracks of ideas creating an at times dark and dystopian, at others angst ridden, and at others, reflective and melancholic.

‘The Monster Upstairs’ offers a great insight into the trio’s potential, both as an and out rock outfit but also as an avant-rock band using electronic elements and varying musical approaches. There is still room for growth within the bands sound, it feels like at times they’re grappling with their own ideas, trying to find a resting space for their sound jumping from emo alternative to grunge to heavy rock but that’s not necessarily a problem, it makes for a varied and interesting listen.

Listen below:

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