Sweden’s Monolord is without a doubt one of the most prolific stoner/doom metal bands around today. Their gargantuan riffs are like a tidal wave: totally destructive, with the force of tectonic plates. Tracks like “Empress Rising” and “Died a Million Times” will go down in history as some of the best doom metal of the 2010s. After two extremely heavy and well-received LPs, they’ve released their third in their mere three years of existence: Rust. So how does it stack up to their earlier releases?
“Where Death Meets the Sea” starts the record proper, with a classically haunting main riff. Thomas Jäger‘s voice comes in, with all the psychedelic filters in effect. The track has a more relaxed feeling during the vocal verses, creating a compelling contrast. “Dear Lucifer” comes next and is the best of the album. The vocal melodies are hypnotic, like a zombie creeping toward you. They compliment the monstrous riffs very well. The number almost feels like an early Saint Vitus track. Headbanging is practically necessary for this one. Gotta love the lyrics too: “Cataclysmic visions in a church you try to burn”. The title track follows and features a keyboard intro courtesy of John Gamino of the psych-revivalist Mondo Drag, and ends with a guitar solo from Trevor William Church of the traditional doom metal trio Beastmaker. It’s always cool when metal songs get the uncommon guest spot treatment. “Rust” has more upbeat energy than the other songs on the record, giving it some needed variety. The instrumental “Wormland” plays next, which features a violin, providing an elegant melancholy vibe. It gives their soundscape more room to play with, expanding upon their heavy bedrock.
The last two songs make up the back half of the album, “Forgotten Lands” and “At Niceae”. They are close to a half hour combined. The album loses a bit of steam here, but they are still pretty solid tracks. The former number really does feel like a desolate wasteland as depicted on the cover, plodding along through an apocalyptic landscape. “At Niceae” is the most uninteresting of the collection, and the longest. The formula gets tiring after a while. It’s by no means bad, just doesn’t live up to the quality standard they’ve established. The song finishes with an acoustic outro, providing alleviation from all the doom.
At the end of day, Monolord have turned out a very solid record. Some killer tracks for sure, though the stoner/doom recipe does get a bit worn, even if the soundscape is awesome. It is cool that they experimented and peppered in some unconventional sounds this time around. Needless to say, I can’t wait to catch them on the road!
1. Where Death Meets the Sea
2. Dear Lucifer
5. Forgotten Lands
6. At Niceae
Thomas Jäger – Guitar/Vocals
Mika Häkki – Bass
Esben Willems – Drums