I’ve been raving about Monocyte since issue #1 came out back in October. See exhibit 1: Monocyte #1 review. And exhibit 2: Monocyte #2 review. I’ve also mentioned in each review that Menton3 was planning to release a musical accompaniment to Monocyte, under his music project Saltillo. The time has come, ladies and gents. I was honored to be given the chance to preview this album and share my thoughts with Nerds in Babeland readers; I was not disappointed.

Back when I reviewed Monocyte #1, I read about Menton’s musical project, Saltillo, and looked it up. I bought the first album, Ganglion, because I was immediately taken by the gorgeous, orchestral violins it featured. Therefore, I had a little bit of an idea of what to expect from Saltillo; I did not expect to have most of my expectations blown to bits with Monocyte.

Monocyte starts out haunting, feverish, anxious. There is a sense of something very heavy and dark going on, but it’s exhilarating and urgent, like a thick fog rushing over your ears. That all sounds so dramatic, I know, but it fits, trust me. Reading Monocyte the comic, if you had asked me what that world sounds like, I could not imagine how to answer. This album really is perfect in portraying the story of Monocyte and the warring, immortal races he has been appointed to end forever. It’s a landscape of brutality, a deep, dark sort that we all like to pretend doesn’t exist in our world. It’s also fragile, sick and boiling over with fear. The album Monocyte acts like a tour guide through this place and does it gracefully.

I admit, I have very little experience with ‘industrial’ music beyond a lot of Nine Inch Nails and Portishead, so I can’t throw out any comparisons for you. Honestly, I don’t think there are any, as this album has a special purpose and definitely one the most unique things I’ve heard. Soft, melodic violins and cello battle for space with powerful beats, beautifully pained female vocals and sophisticated sound bites that seem to come from windows in time.

There aren’t many albums or bands I can listen to while writing, most tend to be distracting or disruptive to my thought process. Monocyte by Saltillo became my go-to sound for writing because it is the exact opposite; this album is both intense and soothing at the same time, creating a seamless flow of mood from song to song. It’s an excellent album that I’ll go back to again and again, probably each time I read the Monocyte comic to remind me of what it all can be together, and every time I need something ‘just right’ to find my creative mojo.

Saltillo is available on Storming the Base, from Artoffact Records.

Saltillo Gatekeepers preview

Saltillo Proxy preview clip