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Monolithe - Monolithe III Review

About.com Rating 4.5 Star Rating


Monolithe - Monolithe III

Monolithe - Monolithe III

Debemur Morti Productions
To refer to Monolithe as doom metal feels woefully inadequate. While the Paris, France-based group certainly deals with the heavy, the deep, the dark and the droning, there is much more to their sound than the sombre, the mournful or merely funereal.

Theirs is not the darkness of bleak despair, harrowing and windswept and awful only for being unrelenting, nor is it the crushing, weighty darkness of impossible endurance. This is a living darkness, a rich and textured darkness, like that found at the bottom of the ocean's deepest trenches, alive with monsters and strange lights.

Monolithe III is their third record, and also the third instalment in the career-spanning musical epic they are composing. It is also their first record in seven years, barring a pair of EPs. The time between these releases has not been wasted, as it is clear they have taken the sleek, cold, interstellar doom that composed their earlier output and made so much more out of it. They did not just set out to perfect their sound but to deepen it at every turn, adding layers and depth.

The best way I can describe the texture of their sound, as well as the emotional impact that it has, is like being in a sensory deprivation tank. At first, the experience is dominated by the sense of enclosing dark, the complete blackness and weightlessness. Then, the darkness suddenly expands as the listener journeys inwards, becoming impossibly vast. Just as one hallucinates in a sensory deprivation tank, so does the darkness of Monolithe III become filled with bright, twisting visions.

This record is a massive 52 minutes in length, and yet there is never a dull moment. The flow is extraordinary, riffs twisting and bending, melting into one another with just the right amount of friction or smoothness. The melodic passages dapple the record silver-bright. They never rely on the trappings of the genre, the cliches of a plodding pace or leaden riffs, proving a sparkling interlude can induce as much misery as a limestone slab. Monolithe III is something extraordinary.

(released November 20, 2012 on Debemur Morti Productions)

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher. For more information, please see our Ethics Policy.

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