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Album Review: Monument

In the wake of Monument, the newest release from Fort Lauderdale-based A New Way To Live Forever (ANWTLF), a breath of fresh air flies across the ever-changing music industry, as we find a band willing to take chances in the pursuit of sonic independence. With a smattering of musical influences coupled with unwavering passion, Russ, Daniel, Stephen, Motley, and Phil lay it all on the table in Monument, making it clear to see that ANWTLF is dedicated to their diversity. Monument ’s very natural ebb and flow allow for the band to cross the spectrum of music while simultaneously maintaining a cohesive sound that gently cascades across a wall of noise.ANWTLF - MonumentLeading with the single “Fall or Follow,” the album kicks off to a racing start that sets a perfectly accurate tone of what is to come: ANWTLF means business, and they are not afraid to show it. With a varied mixture of musical styles being mashed together, “Fall or Follow” paints a picture of Monument ’s expressive attitude and culmination of influence, making the band’s alt-rock-pop vibe ever apparent. The strong beginning to the album is quickly soothed by the introduction of the second song, “Dream Away,” as its predecessor softly floats to its finish. While the opening tune shows the band’s tenacious nature, “Dream Away” is an exhibition into the group’s lighter, more pop-y persona, allowing the listener to ease themselves into the depths of the album. With the soulful singing of Russ Rogers, the ever-so-subtle acoustic guitars, and a KISS-esque breakdown, the track is a melodious addition that pairs well in contrast to the rest of the record.

Yet, just when you think that you have settled into the experience, the music takes a turn and you are now exposed to ANWTLF’s darker side. ”Not This Time,” sews the seam between Avenged Sevenfold and Lenny Kravitz: a sheer crash course in chaos. With thunderous drumming, Phil Tucciarone rains down a militant beat creating a prominent peak at the album’s epicenter. Like any good militia, ANWTLF refuses to stay stagnant as they alter their stance again as the second act of Monument is unleashed. Using the raw power of their sound, they decide to create a musical uprising with “I Saw Stars,” as they build the song to a climax only to break it down and then rebuilt it again, even stronger. Both Stephen Rose and Daniel Dyer expose their true prowess with a turbulence of melancholy acoustic guitar, coupled with shredding electrics, leaving you feeling restless yet content.

With a catchy chorus, heavy guitars, and lyrics that will resonate with those who have lost something important, the last song “Leave It All Behind” was the only choice to conclude the album. With its very subtle (and more importantly), tasteful use of Auto-Tune, ANWTLF proves yet again that they are not afraid to use any means necessary to make their music unique to listen to. “Leave It All Behind” is a sundry track acting as a much needed catharsis to the album while also leaving you with a dulcet longing for what ANWTLF may have for us next time. As the record begins to pop and fade, a bright piano joins the mix with lustrous fury, propelling the outro forward with vigor allowing Monument to die as it lived: hard and fast.

As the dust settles, it is easy to see that Monument truly does embody its namesake as it serves as a testament of ANWTLF’s relentless pursuit to push the envelope of what music can be. They show in this ever-changing world that it is important for us not to grow complacent, for nothing changes without risk. It is going to be very interesting to see what ANWTLF has in store for us next, and what they could do with a full length recording. Until then, let’s hope ANWTLF and their fans stay dedicated to the idea that conformity is not always the answer.

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