Monolithe – Monolithe III

Monolithe
Monolithe III
Released: November 16th 2012
Doom Metal
Released via Debenmur Morti Productions

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Monolithe are a Funeral Doom band hailing from Paris, France. To date, they have produced three full length albums, titled simply Monolithe I, Monolithe II, and now Monolithe III. Each album features one 50 minute track, named after the album. This is a band that doesn’t mess around.

Monolithe III is 52 minutes of epic, crushing doom. Like Sleep’s renowned Dopesmoker album, it rolls onward from riff to riff, somehow managing to get heavier as it goes along. This is intermittently broken up by numerous atmospheric interludes, as the album gradually fluctuates from heavy to light, fast to slow. The album slowly builds and builds as the song becomes more immediate and fast as time rolls on, and the ending is incredibly dramatic, though still retains its dark, menacing sound as the journey comes to an end and the song fades away. Whilst a lot of Epic Metal such as this attempts a sound that is more emotionally moving, like the sound of a great battle, Monolithe instead create a huge and mysterious sound that is more distant from the listener. This is more guitar based and less keyboard-laden than a lot of atmospheric metal, but there is a haunting sparseness to much of the music which conjures up mental images of the vastness of space and the ominous monolith that adorns the album artwork.

The band’s lyrical themes are listed on Metal Archives as “Origin of Mankind” and by taking a look at past album lyrics, and bearing in mind the band’s chosen moniker, I suspect there may be a Stanley Kubrick/Arthur C Clark influence here. Either way I find this far more interesting than the usual self-pitying doom and gloom lyrics that the Funeral Doom genre is saturated with. It’s this conceptual integrity that holds everything together, despite its ambitious scope and allows the band to tell a surreal story through their music. I wouldn’t recommend this to the average listener, but this album is a rewarding journey and I only wish more bands had this kind of singular focus.

4.3/5

Paul Gibbins

 

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