Labor XII: Monsters
By Curtis Peoples, Ph.D.
The new album Monsters from the Lubbock-based band Labor XII is a quasi-concept album. It does not focus on a particular story or one theme. It addresses varying external and internal issues that many people struggle with, their MONSTERS. Drawing from personal experiences to write the album, the band has produced twelve songs covering topics ranging from suicide to toxic relationships.
I first encountered Labor XII in late 2020 when looking for West Texas hard rock and heavy metal songs for one of my radio programs. Scouring the Internet for songs, I came across an earlier version of the album’s debut single, “Suffocate.” I was instantly hooked on Labor XII’s sound and songwriting abilities. A self-proclaimed hard rock band, the band’s sound is reminiscent of hard rock bands that came of age in the late 1990s and early 2000s.
Monsters is a complex album. The songs are melodic, and the progressions are harmonically structured. The album’s song layout is logically organized and flows well. The final song, “The Last Goodbye,” wraps up the overall theme and brings an appropriate sonic closure to the album.
The recording production for the album is clean and full-spectrum. The individual instruments are distinct and have excellent tonality. The vocals and harmonies are well produced. The band elevated the album’s production when they enlisted Evan Rodaniche, who mixed, mastered, and co-produced Monsters.
I didn’t hear a bad song on the album, but my two picks are the debut single “Suffocate” and “Head Rush.” I have only positive things to say about Labor XII’s debut album Monsters!
Curtis Peoples is the archivist for the Crossroads of Music Archive at Texas Tech University and host of the NPR radio program, “Music Crossroads of Texas,” airing on KTTZ 89.1 FM.