The Monolith Deathcult


Written by: AB on 31/10/2008 00:36:22

This year has already seen some eminent death metal releases. First and foremost, there has been a good deal of solid and good 'traditional death metal' albums this year. Personally though, I am most excited about the more 'special' DM releases. The super excellent progressive death metal album from Decrepit Birth, the jaw-dropping work of symphonic/orchestral death from Greece's Septic Flesh, the manic speed death from Origin, the full blown chaos of Hate Eternal's "Fury And Flames", or our very own Exmortem's sludgy, slow DM, and so on. However, none of this is as weird, varied, inventive or downright crazy as this. Hailing from Holland, The Monolith Deathcult (TMD from now on) played brutal DM on their two former albums, this they do no more. They've stated that they think death metal really can't go much further in terms of speed and brutality, so they won't try to challenge that. Instead they've come up with something completely new.

Intrigued? I knew you'd be. TMD still plays death metal (which is still brutal, as death metal is), but mixed with electronica. Yup, that's right. I'm not merely talking about a sample or two, or a little keyboard wankery. I'm talking pure electronica, trance, techno, synth, PLUS samples and keyboard wankery. However, not in a pill poppin', stupid stompin' n' glowsticks kind of way, and not in an industrial death metal kind of way, but rather in an awesome, atmospheric, epic, and totally-integrated-in-the-death-metal kind of way. Just like aforementioned Septic Flesh is able to fully and seamlessly blend DM and a symphonic orchestra, so is TMD able to do the same with their electronica.

More or less all their songs start out slowly, and using the often almost quiet and undertoned electronical effects, slowly building them up into a crescendo. The sound is, just as their name, big and pompous, but it's totally fine, when it's done with the skill and creativity of these guys. The music is constantly (!) changing, mixing short guitar solos with synth, ominous bells, keyboard, noise, blasting drums, trance-like electronica, clean singing, grand & groovy riffs, chanting, samples, growls, drum n bass, a strangely Arabic sounding instrument (or maybe just sound effect?) and something that sounds like a choir of monks, into one cacophony of intriguing sound. The great thing is, as confusing as this may sound, everything fits perfectly together and creates grand atmospheric soundscapes, and even though it is not quite as 'epic' as Septic Flesh or Nile etc., with an average song length of just below 8 minutes, it is quite some intricate layers of weirdness and sound they get weaved together. Just listen to album opener "Deus Ex Machina" that starts slowly and quietly out with some undertoned techno beat, before slowly picking up intensity with a little keyboard goodness, before it picks up full speed with groovy chugging guitars! Or the song "Wrath of the Baath" which starts out with deep chants with no instruments to back it up, before some aggressive drumming kicks in, and then everything explodes in guitar, trance and keyboard. Excellent! Or the super build up (and release!) in "Master of the Bryansk Forest". Even though a lot of the electronic effects are used in the background to help create the sense of wicked grandeur (as seen throughout the whole album, but most notably in album closer, the monolithic (heh) 14-minutes-long "Den Ensomme Nordens Dronning", it by no means equals to that the electronic elements aren't prioritized when the death metal goes crazy. Imagine something like early Deicide mixed with drum n bass!

The really great thing is that this is completely original and weird, but there isn't any place where it doesn't work. Even when TMD reaches the peaks of weirdness in "Kindertodeslied" - mixing samples of a little girl speaking, a shrieking, screaming voice that reminds one of black metal, more spoken word samples, a child choir, and deep growling, in probably the most trance-y song of the entire album - oh, and everything is in German too - it fucking works, creating intricate, groovy, weird-as-hell music that can stand on it's own. It's not only craziness for the sake of it, and in no place does this album just become background music or white noise. If you want to challenge yourself, if you want to listen to something that you've never heard anything like before, if you want to listen to a unique take on a genre characterized by purists, I highly recommend this. Beware though! Not an easy listen, but it's an album that grows with every spin!


Download: Deus Ex Machia, Master of the Bryansk Forest, M.M.F.D., Demigod
For the fans of: Septic Flesh with electronica?
Listen: MySpace

Release date 01.03.2008
Twilight Vertrieb

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