April 14, 2014

Morgue of Saints - Monolith

Written by Matt Hinch.

Artwork by Elliot C.

The transformation between Morgue of Saints' first album, Sleep/Death and newest release, Monolith borders on incomprehensible. Sleep/Death is excellent ambient drone and funeral doom. Monolith is most definitely not. Mastermind and sole member Elliot C. sure has a wide creative palate and a load of talent. It's actually surprising that both releases bear the same "band name". Then again, Boris continually baffle under the same name so...

Monolith itself is a slammin' shimmy-shake of top shelf instrumental stoner rock. Every last second is drenched in overdriven tone and lit by the fires of a thousand bongs. Organs stand front and centre calling to mind The Mystick Krewe of Clearlight. Although, Mr. C is no Jimmy Bower on the drums. But who is?

Each and every one of these six tracks simply riffs fantastic. The grooves are heavy and never let up. From beginning to end your head will nod and your toes will tap. Riff after riff of pure gold. That might sound a little exaggerative but rest assured I'll stand by every word.

Like I said, it's instrumental but vocals at no time feel necessary. The sound is full and hypnotic. Putting vocals on it would actually take away from its power. Without the benefit of lyrics the listener needs to be guided through the listening experience. Morgue of Saints takes you by the hand and leads you through the maze. There's great use of foreshadowing in the minor riff variations that point in the direction the track is heading. The shifts in drama and changes in the instrument spotlight from guitar to organ and back deceive one into thinking it's interplay between members. But any back and forth jammin' is only Elliot talking to himself.

Monolith is free flowing and care free. There's such an atmosphere of organic development through improvisational generation here that the music's soul is laid bare. You can hear and feel every iota of effort that went into its creation and thus gain a deeper appreciation for it.

Continually urging the listener forward into whatever new vista of silky stoner rock appears over the horizon, Morgue of Saints injects an optimistic air and upbeat manner into Monolith compelling the listener into repeated listens. Instrumental stoner jams don't get much better than this.

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