While Canadian guitarist/vocalist Chris Antonik has been hailed for his Clapton-esque guitar work on his recordings—this is his third CD since 2011—what really grabs me are his lyrics. Of his songwriting he says, “This is a pretty dark record, but it’s real.” A good example is “Hungry Ghost,” an uptempo meditation on addiction and “the possibility of [its] being hard-wired in a person’s brain during infancy.” Set to a thumping beat—courtesy of drummer Chuck Keeping, who animates all the songs—lines like “You know all about forsaken life, cutting your sadness with a worn-out knife” are not usual blues fare. The recurring theme is forgiveness, which he spells out in “Forgiveness Is Free,” written while going through a divorce. The highlight is the title track, more properly rendered as “The Monarch and the Wrecking Ball.” Set to an infectious beat with a trio of harmony vocalists, whose presence seems like angels singing from on high, the song begins: “A new door opens, an old one closes,” and the trip begins.