CD, Hands Productions, 2011
This second official release from 13th Monkey is what you would most likely expect from a release on the Hands label – pounding, distorted rhythms with plenty of harsh noises thrown in for good measure. Unfortunately, there is not a lot to differentiate “Return of the Monkey” from a large majority of other rhythmic noise albums.
One drawback of “Return of the Monkey” is that some songs become repetitive after a few minutes, such as “Skulk” and “Syphon V2”. While listening to parts of this disc, I felt my mind start to wander and I easily lost focus on the music. There is just not enough variation throughout, and a number of tracks don’t seem to go anywhere at all.
That’s not to say this release is devoid of worthwhile songs. The whole album is still well-crafted and engaging at times, and there are enough pieces which incorporate different elements to hold some interest for the listener. You will hear some technoid-type sounds on “Kryophaze”, which give a slightly funky and groovy feel to the track. “Sojifu” is strange and interesting, a bit more low-key, and presents some oppressive and bizarre effects throughout. The last track, “Guenon”, which clocks in at around seventeen minutes, is probably the highlight of the album; it is quite drony and grating with a slow build-up to it. It also integrates some dark atmospheric layers, venturing into what could be described as dark ambient realms.
While this album can be classified as rhythmic noise, there is much more noise than rhythm on a number of tracks, such as “Korrosionangriff”, “Serratek”, or “Guenon”. Some of these noises are almost brain-piercing at times, bringing in a sense of chaos and insanity overall. At the same time, there is a general bounciness throughout, in large part due to the way the drum sounds are programmed.
While this is by no means a horrible output, and there are ingredients inside that many listeners will find appealing, altogether “Return of the Monkey” has a hard time standing out from a number of albums in the distorted rhythmic genre, and there are not enough changes within to fully engage listeners.
— Kevin Congdon