The French are known for their black metal more than doom. Monolithe is a French doom band of note and reaches for the upper tiers of the genre with their new album. It is going to take some convincing for me to be onboard for an album of three fifteen minute long songs. There feels like a little more death metal injected into the bands new album. It is another lumbering step away from funeral doom. There are layers of atmosphere and some creepy melodies chiming in from the background. The vocal passages with effects on them work the best. They are more of a mid paced doom, than the dirge like hesitation funeral doom often has. These guys care about the songs, they are not just trying to steam roll you with heaviness. They almost make it to the nine-minute mark before I check to see how much time has passed. That’s a good sign considering the length of the song. They make it seem like the final five minutes is going to be consumed by a woeful guitar solo.
The line-up from their 2015 album is still intact and working well together, as these guys are on top of their game when it comes to execution. The synths come up in the mix as things get darker for “TMA 1”. It’s heading into the 9 minute mark that I come to terms with the fact this is going to be an instrumental. These guys churn out some pretty on point proggy doom as they wind through the winding maze of riffs. Building into mid paced chugs. The final installment is “the Barren Depths” it starts off with weird electronic atmosphere. The guest vocalist Guyom Pavesi has a voice full of emotion and personality that helps steer the song away from many of the doom clichés. The twin guitar attack on this song really shines. There are no solos for the sake of soloing it seems to transition the dynamics of the song. There is a more middle of the road prog metal feel to where the song goes after the more sonic guitar section coming out of what would be the first verse. I like Pavesi’s voice a little more each time I hear him I am going to check out his other projects. The guitar playing is the star of this show. The solos are coming out from everywhere as the song builds.
I’ll give this album an 8.5. The second song is adventurous and well played, but from a song writing perspective having one of the three songs on a three song album turn out to be an instrumental seems a little self indulgent unless you are band like Russian Circles and that is what is expected of you. Overall this might be one of the better doom metal album so far this year, fans of the band will not be disappointed as the band upholds their legacy.