Armageddon Monks
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Armageddon Monks

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Story: Rosa Henriquez
May 2008
PDF: http://www.armageddonmonks.com/press/AMonks-080500-MetalEdge.pdf

There aren't many unsigned bands that get our attention here at METAL EDGE (the ones that don't suck have usually broken up before we're done listening to the album), but was no way I was going to get away with ignoring Armageddon Monks. The album art -- a charcoal-esque scratch-up of a hooded tin-man -- was as perplexing as the name. But despite the DIY cringe-appeal of the whole package, I was pleasantly surprised by the music. Falling somewhere between early Breaking Benjamin (does anyone remember what they sounded like before they sold out and became mainstream pop?) and more old-school metal, the quality of the work proves that the band obviously take themselves seriously enough to chuck out something worthwhile.

"It's always kind of funny to tell people our name," Steve Goldman, the band's leader, explains on the phone from his hometown of Ithaca, NY. "You kind of have to say it with a straight face or no one will believe you. There is no explanation behind it. It was a name that no one else would ever come up with, and we wanted to stick out."

Starting this adventure as a college cover band, Goldman would eventually decide to write his own music and put it out there instead of repping his favorite oldies. "It's far more gratifying to have someone appreciate your original work than to be patted on the back for doing a good cover," he says. "There was a lot of transition after we decided not to do covers. A lot of lineup changes -- mostly because guys moved on, started professions, started families. Some of them were having fun doing covers and didn't want to look beyond that. It happens. People grow up and move on."

While Goldman himself is no exception to the disease of growing up -- he's well on his way to becoming a doctor -- he's confident that the group he has now will stick around for the long haul.

"It's hard to tell what'll happen in the future, but we have a good group of guys. Right before making this album we added Matt [Kelly, vocals] and that was really tough. He walked on and all of the music was already written for him. No one likes being fed what to sing and how to sing it, but he was really great about it and I think the album came out great."

So here's the thing. There's only one place to get this album and that's their website, armageddonmonks.com. (*) No, they probably won't be touring in your hometown soon, and no, you probably won't see their video on MTV anytime soon either. For all we know, Goldman will drop this crazy rock dream and become a doctor in a few years. But really, it's worth waiting to see what will happen next, and listening in the meantime.

"We already have some stuff ready for a new album," Goldman says. "We're still trying to get gigs here and there, but right now we're focused on just trying to get our name and our album out there."

---

(*) This is no longer the case; the album is available on Amazon, iTunes, CDbaby, Rhapsody and many other popular retailers. --A.Monks - Metal Edge Magazine


Sunday, March 2, 2008
PDF: http://www.armageddonmonks.com/press/AMonks-080302-PostStandard.pdf

(Heavy Metal) "Armageddon Monks," Armageddon Monks, independent recording

Ithaca heavy metal band Armageddon Monks don't let a good growl get in the way of a catchy melody.

In fact, with Jack Logue and Steve Goldman on guitars, Andy Adelewitz on bass, Michael Hunter on drums and Matt Kelly handling the lead vocals, they fill their 13-song, self-titled CD with enough crunch to keep the heavy-metal crowd banging heads and more than enough hooks to lure rock 'n' roll lovers, too.

They fit both the hard and soft into the first cut, "Storm," alternating between stormy churn and serenity as calm as the eye of a storm.

The acoustic guitars in "Where We Lie" make the bed for Kelly's soaring voice, brimming with pain and pleasure.

They just might have saved the best cut for last. "No Day Like Tomorrow" fires up with powerful and pristine guitar lines joyfully reminiscent of early Boston.

- Mark Bialczak, music critic - Syracuse Post-Standard


Thursday, July 10, 2008
PDF: http://www.armageddonmonks.com/press/AMonks-080710-PressSunBulletin.pdf

by Dave Edick

Armageddon Monks, "Armageddon Monks"

Welcome to the world of dichotomy, ruled by the metal alchemy of the Armageddon Monks. It's a world filled with eternal antitheses -- light/dark, yin/yang, red states/blue states.

One of Ithaca's most acclaimed bands, the Monks use a self-titled CD to map a compelling case for aural polarity.

At the quintet's creative core are lead guitarist-singer/songwriter Steve Goldman and singer/co-writer Matt Kelly. Styling simmering rhythm are drummer Michael Hunter, bifurcated frontman for local band Try.Fail.Repeat, and depth-bombing bassist Andy Adelewitz.

But there's a change-up for Friday's Voodoo Lounge show in Binghamton. Veteran co-lead guitarist/singer Jack Logue has departed and coming aboard is JC Holleran from the Corning band Self Made Self. He's got a big strap to fill -- four of the disc's 13 tracks get extra crackle from Logue's hot-wiring.

Arcing off rising choruses that counter crunchy metal, the Monks bestow a moving mix of love tokens and exitential treatises over nearly an hour.

Three sturdy offerings feed off contradictory couplings of buzz-saw riffage and lyrical gentility -- "Revival," "Long Way Down" and "No Day Like Tomorrow."

It's five cuts, though, that send the Monks into breakout territory, enveloping both storm trooper swagger and acoustic peace. The latter comes in "Carried Away," a nimble instrumental with Logue and Goldman stitching in some Spanish threads and patches as disparate as Mason Williams' "Classical Gas."

Of the softer persuasion, too, is "Lines," a brooding ballad about falling onto the wrong path, with quick-fired shredding a la Logue.

Then, full-tilt fury thunders through love/hate sermons filled with fire and brimstone on two other standouts -- "Severed" and "Get Your Fill." Goldman's speed-runs slice through the former, while the anthemic riff in "Fill" gives a nod to Alice Cooper with a Nine Inch Nails snarl.

But the perfect metal storm here is the King's X-heavy "Waste" -- uniting Pantera-churning menace and classical ascensions asking saints/sinners: "Why would God waste a pretty face on you?"

It's that kind of edgy confrontation that has the Monks treading the right path. If this is the path to Armageddon, it's a fine way to go.

3 stars out of 4
- Binghamton Press & Sun-Bulletin


September 22, 2007
PDF: http://www.armageddonmonks.com/press/AMonks-070922-IthacaJournal.pdf
By Jim Catalano

Crunching riffs, dueling guitar lines and soaring vocals -- classic heavy metal has been alive and well with the Armageddon Monks for the past four years. But when the local headbangers recently changed singers, their sound changed as well.

Earlier this year, Matt Kelly replaced founding vocalist Aamir Basheer, who moved to New York City. Kelly, who formerly sang in Gravy as well as some area death-metal bands, pushed the Monks' sound in a new direction.

"He made some really good changes," guitarist Steven Goldman said. "There were some songs that I didn't think I could hear a different way, but the way he changed them worked out really well."

"The material was already there, but he definitely put his stamp on it," agreed drummer Michael Hunter. "It's hard for a singer to come in and sing someone else's vocal lines."

Tonight at Castaways, the Armageddon Monks will release a self-titled CD that showcases their new sound. This is their third CD, but the band chose to re-record 13 songs from their first two albums rather than focus on new material.

"This is our transition into becoming a full-fledged band," Hunter said. "Before, we were just a college band that played lots of covers and a decent amount of our own material. This is all our best material on the new CD."

"And this album is our best production," added Goldman, who produced the album in his home studio. "The material is all re-recorded, but we made a few changes to a few songs. As all of us matured as musicians working together, the sound got a little heavier."

"There's definitely still a huge emphasis on melody and guitar riffs," said Hunter. "The heaviness comes more from the energy that we bring to the table. We play more energetically."

Some of the classic metal influences remain, though, especially the intricate guitar work from Goldman and Jack Logue. "We try to keep it simple and not over the top; catchy and hook-y but still interesting," Logue said.

The band's newest member is bassist Andy Adelewitz, a native Ithacan who just recently returned from New York City. He hooked up with the Monks through Craig's List.

"I had been back in town six months and was itching to get in a band, so I looked at Craig's List for bands that needed guitar or bass players," Adelewitz said. "Most of the ads led to Myspace pages for really bad bands. But when I clicked on these guys' ad, I thought they were actually really good, so I decided to answer them." After quickly learning three songs by ear, he passed his audition and was invited to join.

With the new CD complete, the band is pursuing more out-of-town gigs.

"As nice as Ithaca is, it is a town that's really far away from any major music center," Goldman said. "It's not really the greatest hard rock scene, so we're trying to focus our efforts closer to New York City. It's starting to pick up for us."

The band's tightness and energy on stage is bound to win them new fans around the Northeast. "We're all aware that the live show is going to be what gets to people," said Kelly.

"The live show is definitely reaching a new level," Hunter said. "We're all very comfortable with each other right now. We're not worrying about messing up; it's more about fun, which is nice."

Also on tonight's bill are local heavy rock trio Check Engine and Endicott-based prog-pop band Try.Fail.Repeat, for which Hunter is the lead vocalist. Cover for the 9:30 p.m. show is $5. - Ithaca Journal


Discography

"City Limits" EP - 2008
Promotional-only five-song EP featuring songs intended for the next full-length album.

"Armageddon Monks" - 2007
Airplay around New York State for the tracks "Severed," "Where We Lie," "Get Your Fill" and "Come Inside." Support at radio include WVBR-Ithaca, WBER-Rochester, WLLW-Seneca Falls, WKGB-Binghamton, WNGZ-Elmira and WTKW-Syracuse.

"Revival" - 2006

"Cataclysm" - 2005

Photos

Bio

Metal Edge magazine profiled this up-and-coming hard rock band from upstate New York in their May '08 issue, under the headline "Unsigned... Get On That, Somebody." Compared to artists like Breaking Benjamin, Audioslave, Avenged Sevenfold and Metallica, Armageddon Monks feature modern hard-rock songwriting, soaring vocal harmonies and blazing dual-guitar solos that echo classic metal music with an aggressive, contemporary edge. Their self-titled 2007 album was named "Best Metal Album" in the Ithaca Journal's year-end "Jimmies" awards, and WVBR-FM "Tuesdays with the Band" host Dan Cole named it his favorite local album of the year from any genre.

Armageddon Monks' journey began at a coffeehouse open mic in the fall of 2003 at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York. Starting out as a simple rock cover band, they quickly discovered that their talents lay beyond covering other artists' music. Drawing heavily on old-school metal influences, the Armageddon Monks began crafting a style that melded the hard-rockin' riffs of classic metal with the accessibility of modern rock melodies and structures. A heavy emphasis on vocal and guitar harmonies coupled with this metal-influenced hard rock style resulted in near-instant popularity within the Cornell campus. College life and multiple lineup changes prevented the talented quintet from branching out to a wider audience, but after three years of hard work and countless hours of preparation, the Armageddon Monks have truly arrived and are ready to put rock back on top.

The music begins with the guitars of Steve Goldman and JC Holleran. Whether trading off guitar-shredding solos or harmonizing melodies in perfect unison, these talented lead guitarists work together with a surprising effortlessness. Bassist Andy Adelewitz and drummer Michael Hunter form a potent rhythm section, using heavy, pounding beats to drive the music and give it an infectious, sometimes vicious energy. Over the top of this powerful mixture sails the unique voice of singer Matt Kelly, who brings along a virtual arsenal of vocal abilities to go with his powerful yet soothing tenor. Together these musicians create a sound that is all their own, comfortably shifting gears from head-banging metal riffs to angelic, soaring choruses. Their most recent CD (self-produced by Steve Goldman) showcases this unusual versatility with thirteen tracks of pure hard rock fury, and sets the bar high for their live shows.

Fortunately, the live show is where the Armageddon Monks truly come to life. These musicians play with an intense energy that can only come from knowing that they are doing what they were born to do, which is to put it quite simply, make heads bang. This energy has captivated audiences across the Northeast, in addition to earning them frequent radio play on Ithaca's WVBR 93.5FM and regular spotlights in the Ithaca Journal. Now the ambitious quintet is focusing its energy on expanding its fan base and getting its music to as many people as possible, and with their dynamic live show and impressive material there's no limit to how successful they will be.

Over the past three years, the Armageddon Monks have gone through three drummers, lost two of their founding members (including their lead singer) and survived the transition from college band to full-time professional musicians. Through it all they have maintained their dedication to their craft, and have emerged as one of Ithaca's foremost hard rock/metal bands. This is a band that is determined to pursue their goals and have their voices heard, so if you are searching like so many others for proof that rock and roll is alive and well, look no further.

www.armageddonmonks.com
www.myspace.com/amonks

For more information on the Armageddon Monks, please contact:

Steve Goldman, 845.527.0305, steve@armageddonmonks.com

Andy Adelewitz, 646.229.9347, andy@armageddonmonks.com