Review by Sonny for Monolithe - Monolithe II (2005) Review by Sonny for Monolithe - Monolithe II (2005)

Sonny Sonny / May 28, 2019 / 0

Monolithe's sound has progressed over the years from their early 2000's monolithic (pun intended) funeral doom, through a more death doom-orientated middle period to their current progressive doom phase. As time has passed it has found the Frenchmen becoming more adventurous and slowly developing their sound which has inadvertently (or maybe not) made them relatively more accessible.

Anyway to this month's feature which is most definitely in the "early funeral doom" phase of the band's evolutionary journey. Monolithe II takes the form of a single fifty-minute track, in common with each of the band's first four albums and, the funeral doom newcomer be warned, it relies heavily upon repetition, particular of the opening theme, for the layering and build-up of it's pervading atmosphere. If you are an impatient type of metal head then you are probably best leaving it at that and going back to something more likely to get your blood pumping because this is not an adrenaline rush of an album. Rather, this is a carefully constructed release that cradles and envelops the listener in a sonic womb of slow, thick riffs run through with veins of atmospheric instrumentation that utilises keyboards, gorgeous guitar refrains and even, in a nod to their homeland's folk music, an accordion (provided by guest Manuel Mechling) which, surprisingly, sounds fantastic and fits in perfectly with the vibe the band are attempting to convey. Meanwhile, whilst the music cocoons the unwary listener, vocalist Richard Loudin croons into the ear with his deathly growl like some Babylonian god of dreams, one moment comforting, the next discomfitting. This really is the kind of album that you have to let wash over you and consume you, allowing it to enter into both your conscious and subconscious mind and the most rewarding listens are when you are able to give yourself up to it completely, let go and see where it takes you. For me this is genuinely relaxing and soul-cleansing music, in the same way as with certain ambient pieces, this is the kind of album who's atmosphere takes you out of the everyday and transports you to a less mundane place, opening up the imagination as it does so.

However, it must be said that there is very little variation in pacing throughout the entire runtime, nor is this the glacial crawl of real extreme funeral doom, sitting comfortably in a medium-paced range. Neither does it convey a cloying atmosphere of melancholy that is typical of the genre, often feeling quite uplifting, so again this may annoy some funeral doom purists for not being sufficiently funereal. Yet it does posses a few moments where the tone changes and becomes more discordant and when this does happen it can sound quite menacing. Overall I would say this is a beautifully put together album of extreme doom metal that rewards the listener the more they are prepared to invest into it. An immediate release this isn't and I can understand why some wouldn't care fot it, but as far as I am concerned this is doom metal heaven.

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