|Cover Art Julio Reyes|
Monolord sell a patch with a picture of a divine hand reaching out of the clouds to press the switch on a foot pedal simply labeled “FUZZ”. That image sums up their first record, Empress Rising; a fuzz manifesto commanding doomheads take notice and feel their bone shaking riffs, right from the first fuzz drop. Underneath the fuzz though and the absolutely killer riffs ran a strong psychedelic undercurrent emphasized by echo drenched vocals.
Vænir shows the same band coming into their own a bit, having already shown their devotion to the Riff and the Fuzz, the two stoner doom gods. The riffs are still stunning, and the vocals remain largely unchanged but the band isn’t afraid to shake things up a bit. They’re less obsessed with crushing tone and have crafted a more varied record with lots going on. The songs meander through riffs and themes rather than hypnotically droning the same few massive riffs (there’s still lots of that though). It makes for a more varied and somewhat pleasant listen, not quite as crushing as Empress Rising, but with more to reward repeated listens.
The result is not unlike Pallbearer’s Foundations of Burden; an undeniably mature sophomore release that leaves the first record as a still compelling statement of intent. Like Foundations of Burden, though, the maturity causes the band to tread closer to sounding like other doom bands. The use of semitones, and increased variety makes Vænir sound closer to Black Sabbath than Empress Rising did. That is by no means a criticism, though, merely an observation.
Vænir shows that Monolord are the real deal. They got everyone’s attention with the massive Empress Rising and Vænir shows they’ve still got lots to say echo-drenched, incomprehensible, and difficult to discern over the massive riffs though it may be.
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