September 26, 2017

Monolord - Rust

By Calen Henry. In fine Swedish tradition Monolord's sound starts with a Boss guitar pedal. The Boss Hyperfuzz is the backbone of their world crushing sound. Its extremely aggressive fuzz paired with their mammoth riffs has become instantly recognizable.
By Calen Henry.


In fine Swedish tradition Monolord's sound starts with a Boss guitar pedal. The Boss Hyperfuzz is the backbone of their world crushing sound. Its extremely aggressive fuzz paired with their mammoth riffs has become instantly recognizable. Through three records in four years Monolord has maintained their core sound while evolving their musical approach.

Empress Rising was a meditative psychedelic introduction to their fuzzed out instrumentals and reverb-drenched vocals. An exercise in riffery off the highest order, they established their early mastery of long form doom. The production, though, was unpleasantly modern; almost completely void of dynamic range. With Vænir they moved their sound a bit more retro; opening, up the dynamics and adding an ominous Sabbathian edge to the songs. For me, though, it lacked some of the meditative magic of the longer songs from Empress Rising.

Rust sees them split the difference musically between the first two records but with better production than both, making it unequivocally the best Monolord record so far. In a year of stellar doom records (Pallbearer, Elder, Ordos, Loss, Dvne) I was skeptical that Monolord's comparatively simple approach would continue to yield solid material. But Rust stands out because of that, not in spite of it, by tweaking their formula rather than reinventing it to deliver a truly jaw dropping "traditional stoner doom" record. There are a few twists; guitar solos, an organ intro on the title track and a beautiful violin solo at the end of "Wormland" but it's mostly just Monolord doing Monolord the best they ever have.

The production clinches the album's doom supremacy. It's actually difficult to go back to their previous two albums because Rust sounds so much better. The added dynamic range and the organic production makes every part of every song shine.

Most of the songs on Rust are simply composed and performed but the composition is excellent. In contract to previous albums, though, the vocals this time around are as memorable as the riffs. There is something magical about Monolord's sublime monotony; the specific combination of fuzz, riffs, and vocals that's perfected on this record. Their riffing is so visceral that they can get away with the same riff for minutes at a time.

The album closer, "At Niceae" is 15 minutes long and features about four riffs, yet it's a standout track. The riffs and transitions are flawless. At the half way point it dramatically shifts to solo electric guitar, gradually building and adding slide guitar before a lovely acoustic outro. It's the longest example on the album of Monolord's absolute command of flow and composition but the whole album is a showcase for it with nary a superfluous moment regardless of track length.

Monolord have finally realized the promise of their first two records, one of the purest distillations of Sabbathian doom, and I would not be surprised if this ends up becoming my favourite doom record of all time.

Tagged with 2017, Calen Henry, doom metal, Monolord, RidingEasy Records, stoner metal
Post a Comment: