Behold! The Monolith crush your pathetic skeletal frame with their doom power
January 11, 2012 § 1 Comment
All forms of music are made with many inspirations in mind. Love, death, sorrow, depression, happiness, sexual arousal, the rejection of sexual arousal, God, the devil, the rejection of any god, you name it. There is nothing that is off limits. In the case of Behold! The Monolith, I feel like what moved them to make their crushing epics is a battle axe. That’s it, a simple instrument of brutal, barbaric destruction designed to split your chest into two pieces. I can’t help but hear the band’s awesome second record “Defender, Redeemist” and not think of it.
The trio’s sophomore platter is sticky with blood, ominous and so heavy that you’ll need multiple breathers. If you’re not aware of the band’s power yet but are into groups such as High on Fire, St. Vitus, early Sabbath, Iron Maiden and early Mastodon, you’re in for a love fest. An ugly one where you might have to protect yourself from other heathens in a filthy den who also have their eyes on your object of affection. It’s that brutal an experience, one that sounds inspired by tales and warriors of ages gone by. It also has those fantastical, medieval elements that make metal fans swoon, and that’s kind of where the Maiden comparison comes into play.
You’ll need time to absorb the eight cuts on “Defender, Redeemist,” their follow-up effort to 2009’s eye-opening self-titled debut. The L.A. band dabbles in smoky doom that also should make the stoner community proud, and the fiery guitar work of Matt Price both fits in well with that camp and those who are more into trad doom. There’s something for everyone here, as long as heavy metal glory and gloomy punishment make you happy. This is one bad-ass, maniacal, beast of a record that should put this band on the fast track to subgenre dominance and larger stages to hold their chaos.
The album opens with “Guardian’s Possession,” a quick warning salvo that leads right into “Halv King,” a crushing song that gives you an idea of what’s in store during this rest of this gallop across dusty lands in search of men to slay and meat to eat. The guitars are fast, the rhythm section of Kevin McDade and drummer Chase Manhattan is tight and bruising, and the vocals are delivered with demonic intent. “Desolizator” has a meaty lead guitar groove that leans a bit toward classic thrash and a choppy tempo, and it’s a fun song to hear when driving. In fact, you might find yourself challenging the gas pedal, so maybe be careful. The title cut is spacier and packed with adventure. It has its heavy, challenging moments, and at times it dissolves into acoustic beauty that almost seems there to change the scenery. It’s a really good, effective cut.
“Witch Hunt Supreme” reminds of when Mastodon used to be one of my favorite bands. Just that opening guitar riff and where it leads makes me wonder if BTM couldn’t fill the void Mastodon left in the underground scene. The song then changes into a slow-driving doom head-banger dressed with harsh, throat-mangling storytelling. Three-part epic “Cast on the Black/Lamentor/Guided By the Southern Cross” is a sprawling piece that touches on everything this band does well, and while it’s nearly 14 minutes long, it never feels that lengthy. The band keeps things interesting, and it’s pretty easy for the listener to decipher when the dudes have moved onto the next piece of the triptych.
I’m a sucker for doom, as any regular reader would know, and I always dig the stoner realm as well, but that also makes me pickier as bands who do that type of things seem to multiply by the day. Fewer things ring my bell these days. Behold! The Monolith are one of those that never disappoint me, and when I want something that just bloodies my face like, well, a battle axe, I turn to these fellows. Their new record is a monster with which to be reckoned, and it should make them major players in the doom scene. Try them on for size next time you’re visiting some of your favorite chemicals and see if their music doesn’t make you see battle scene on your walls, Just don’t have weapons around, otherwise you might have some spackling to do the next day.
For more on the band, go here: http://beholdthemonolith.com/fr_home.cfm
To buy “Defeater, Redeemist,” go here (not up for sale on the site yet, so keep checking back): http://beholdthemonolith.storenvy.com/collections/15874-all-products