Classy Swedish doom...
Swedish trio Monolord, despite the slothful nature of their music, are industrious buggers. Despite only forming in 2013 they’ve already produced a double album a single elpee and an EP, as well as countless live performances; all of which might have seen a lesser band getting the hands on the knees and demanding a bit of a breather; but no, they’re back again with a new album, Rust.
But never mind rust, Monolord, it would seem, never sleeps…
Sorry about that. Anyway, you’re here to hear about the music, not my questionable sense of humour and the good news is that the Monolord well, for all that early-career industry, doesn’t appear to be running dry. Despite featuring only half a dozen tracks, Rust weighs in at over fifty minutes in duration, and there is an awful lot of bang on offer for your doom buck.
Opener Where Death Meets the Sea is Monolord at their most savage in 2017, a biting opening riff from Thomas Jäger setting things up nicely. Jäger also handles the vocals, which are set back in the mix slightly to allow the instruments full reign to alternately buffet then caress, the result being am easy-on-the-ear strain of doom that, refreshingly, doesn’t always have to rely on stentorian riff misery to get it’s point across.
Having said that, Dear Lucifer is more straight ahead and, probably consequently, slightly less interesting. Jäger pours on the agony both musically and vocally with nice support from some truly Cretaceous bass playing from Mika Häkki. The title track starts with some nice organ work before the album’s most Sabbathian riff is deployed, Jäger giving full vent to his inner Iommi with predictably destructive results. Here the band harness a real sense of the NWoBHM, with strong notes of Angel Witch and Witchfinder General standing out of the primordial riff soup. It’s a delight to listen to, I can tell you.
The mournful dirge of Wormland is that most rare of beasts, an instrumental that actually speaks to your reviewer. I’m not a big fan of metal with no words, by and large, but this track, largely thanks to some scintillating violin from guest Salome Kent at the song’s end, is really rather splendid. Which leaves two ponderous epics, Forgotten Lands and At Niceae to round things out.
Both are adamantine, riff-heavy dirges that won’t test the patience but will put the eardrums under a little strain; the later fades out with a rather nice nod to Pink Floyd to finish things off.
There’s not a lot of scope to shine in the ever-more-saturated arena of doom, but Monolord have enough about them to make everything they release worth a listen, and Rust is no exception to that rule.
Rust is released by RidingEasy Records today.