When CackBlabbath stumbled across Monolord’s 2014 release ‘Empress Rising’ early last year we were mightily impressed. We get shedloads of albums from new doom bands coming in for review every week, and as much as we love all things doom and stoner, you can’t review them all and even as fans of the genre… they can all start to sound a bit samey if you don’t have break now and then.
Monolord’s sound leapt out to us last year however. Their brand of “Subsonicscuzzfest” certainly doesn’t fall into the average pile and with their new ‘Vænir’ album just about to come out, they are continuing on their upward trajectory as a shit-hot doom band.
‘Vænir’ is more of the same from the Swedes, continuing the colossal rumblings from ‘Empress Rising’ but, this is a slightly more refined Monolord. Opener ‘Cursing The One’ propels you directly back into the looming tsunami of riffs. No fancy intro’s on ‘Vænir’ then; the guitars kick you square in the face within seconds of pressing play.
There is something very refreshing about Monolord’s sound. A lot of doom records conjure up grimy images of grotty weed infused practice rooms when you press play. Its part and parcel of the scene, but Monolord have a fresher almost clean sound. ‘Vænir’ is named after the biggest lake in Sweden, and there is something quite environmental and fresh in what the band do. Their sound is less claustrophobic than a lot of their peers, it just sounds mountainous…
They can still hit you hard and heavy when they want to however. The primal breakdown of riffs at the end of ‘We Will Burn’ is a monstrous highlight of the album. Wave after wave of riffs appeal to the basic reflex to headbang, but we did mention that this second outing was a little bit more refined too…
The wistful and dreamy vocals, the stubbornly slow guitars and the Sabbath inspired intertwined rhythm section. This is not just slowed down rock music; it’s lovingly crafted doom up there with the best.
‘Vænir’ is less of a constant barrage of doom. ‘The Cosmic Silence’ is a clever little laid back, almost choral, interlude in proceedings with a clear trippy seventies vibe. It has a bit of a bluesy southern flavour to it too. Of course we’re soon back into the Sabbath meets Electric Wizard boneshakers in no time for the closing 16+ minutes of ‘Vënir’ – a slow-burning occult tinged epic with some purposefully slow and crisp guitar work.
The album as a whole has more space around it than ‘Empress Rising’. A little bit of room to breathe make the heavy bits hit all the harder when they come around and that’s why Monolord have seemingly done the impossible and gone one better with ‘Vænir’
Monolord should be everyone’s favourite doom band.