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When in my recent Glass Hammer interview, I asked Steve Babb what he thought about the advent of prog rock in death metal, Orlando, Florida's Monotheist was just the type of band I had in mind. Monotheist has been kicking out technical death metal since 2004, but for their full length debut on Prosthetic Records, they churn out a near flawless slab of long playing prog metal that needs to be heard loudly from beginning to end, preferably on colored vinyl for all the varied nuances.

Monotheist gets its low throaty growls from singer Shiv (also 7 Horns 7 Eyes), but most of the lyrics are written by band founder Prophet (currently teaching in China) and Scourge focuses on man's pathetic attempts to declare himself god. This paints a dark portrait allayed only by the salvation that our Creator graciously offers to man, who's done nothing to earn it. Musically, Scourge is a stunning palette featuring brutal death metal, interspersed with some surprising elements, like "Mark of the Beast I," which is an instrumental violin concerto, and then breaks into a hurricane of death metal on "Mark of the Beast II." "Infinite Wisdom" is a thinking man's prog metal instrumental in the same vein as War of Ages on their most recent cd. "Desolate It Mourns Before Me" begins with some delicate Asian sounding guitar melodies before kicking into beast mode. The title track closes the album in a tour de force encapsulating all that the album has to say. Of special note is drummer C. Bates, beating the daylights out of those skins (a delight for the ears,) and many special guest appearances, including Christian Alvestam, with some guest vocals on "The Grey King." This, most assuredly, is how it is done. A must hear for fans in the extreme realm. (Prosthetic Records) 4.5 out of 5 stars

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