The Metal Monarch is none too pleased. Monarch is an Encinitas-based Allman Brothers–ish instrumental jam band. They released their album Two Isles in 2016.
One problem: there was another band named Monarch that had been banging out thrash metal some nine years before.
“I wouldn’t care if they were in a different state,” says Oceanside-based metal Monarch bassist Alex Pickard. “But we’re both based in North County. They basically took our name.”
Pickard says he contacted the newer Monarch about the issue. “They basically said it was not their problem. They said since they were signed to a record company, they didn’t have to change it. I tried to talk to them respectfully about it. They said they didn’t care because it wasn’t affecting their business. I think it is pretty disrespectful to us.”
Matt Weiss plays bass in the Encinitas Monarch. He responded: “I’d rather not comment… But there is a whole other story to this. It’s not just a one-sided thing.”
The name-sharing led to some confusion. “Some of our fans accidentally went to their shows thinking they were us.” Yet, he says his band is not pursuing any legal remedy. “That would be too much heartache for us and for another band.” Pickard’s Monarch released its debut EP Dawn to Night in 2011, with their first album Go Forth...Slaughter dropping last year.
Four years ago, Pickard also joined Cage, the SD power-metal band founded in 1991. “I started off as roadie for them. Then I auditioned and was picked to play bass…. I got to tour Europe with them. Nineteen countries in five weeks.” His Monarch bandmate Casey Trask also joined Cage.
Pickard says the eighth Cage album has already been recorded and will be released later this year. “Sean [Peck, Cage lead singer] wanted to do something different this time. Three different power-metal vocalists are singing lead. We got Tim ‘Ripper’ Owens, who filled in for Rob Halford for a couple years in Judas Priest, and Harry Conklin of Jag Panzer to each sing lead vocals.”
The music tracks were sent to Owens and Pickard, who then added their vocals in their own studios, and then sent them back to Peck. “I think they both live in Texas. Each song will have three power-metal vocals. This will shake the metal community.”
He says the name of the project will have a different name than Cage, although all Cage members participated.
Monarch the metal band appears March 30 at Brick by Brick with other locals Temblad, Gravespell, Sentinel, and Gus McArthur. That show is a preliminary battle-of-the-bands competition to help decide which American band gets to play at the three-day Wacken Open Air metal festival in Germany in August.