Monolithe IV

Written by: MST on 31/03/2014 14:10:32

Fans of funeral doom metal will all have heard the words "monolithe" or "monolithic" in descriptions of the enormous and oppressive soundscapes created by many bands in the genre. It should come as no surprise then that this band called Monolithe, a 4-piece from France, belong within the borders of the funeral doom metal genre tag. "Monolithe IV" is the band's fourth full length effort, and its release in 2013 also marked the 10-year anniversary of the band's first album called (you guessed it) "Monolithe I".

Monolithe's compositions are grandiose in every sense of the word. First of all, every full length album that Monolithe has released contains only a single song that lasts for about an hour. It's not exactly music for your daily commute; attention is demanded in order to properly diggest the whole ordeal. Layers upon layers of riffs and a wide variety of keyboard-effects give the album a density of colossal proportions, and at first glance the album is an impressive creation. The programmed drums sound organic beneath the thick soundscape, and the atmosphere created by the combination of guitars and keyboards is reminiscent of the psychedelia that we all know and love in Esoteric. The growled vocals are scarse, but it fits the natural flow of the album that the vocals only appear when they absolutely fit the music.

There are a couple of breaks in the hour-long composition, and you'd almost be tricked into believing that the album could've been broken up into a few, comparably shorter tracks around these breaks. Once the song picks up the intensity after the breaks however, you realise that you were wrong in having these outrageous thoughts, because most of the album (before and after the breaks) sounds almost the same. This could potentially be called a red thread, and sure, it contributes to the feeling of a sort of 'wholeness' that makes the song feel more like an experience - a journey, if you will - than just a mere song. This is problematic though, because although the sound is great (at first), the lack of variation bothers me too much. Monolithe have previously released two EP's called "Interlude Premier" and "Interlude Second" which both contained shorter songs. "Interlude Second" wasn't really much of an EP, as the two songs clocking in at 36 minutes in total were longer than some so-called full lengths. The point here is that on the band's EP's, they add a lot more variation to their experimental and atmospheric soundscapes. "Monolithe IV" doesn't work too well as an album for this writer, at least not in the genuinely accepted sense of the word.

Monolithe as a band have created a very interesting, mysterious universe in their music on "Monolithe IV", but the length and lack of variety makes it a challenging listen for those who expect to listen to a doom metal album. I took the challenge and completed it numerous times, but I just never got excited. This fourth album by the French quartet is by no means bad or boring or any of those derogative adjectives. It's just a very long, very same-y album that requires a certain person with a specific state of mind before it really hits with the force proportional to its density.


Download: Monolithe IV
For The Fans Of: Shape of Despair, Esoteric, Skepticism
Listen: Facebook

Release date 18.10.2013
Debemur Morti Productions

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