Immersive, impressive, irresistible…
Released through Debemur Morti Productions on 8 July 2016 and reviewed here by Jason Guest
As if doom isn’t huge enough already, French doom band Monolithe spread what has been called “The Great Clockmaker” saga across their first four albums, each of which consisted of one 50+ minute-long track. Also, between albums II and III, the band chose to release two EPs, Interlude Premiere (one track at 20 minutes) and Interlude Second (one track in two parts totalling 36 minutes). As striking as they are ambitious, Monolithe’s musical vocabulary grows with each of these releases and the immersive depths of their music expanding even further. 2015 arrives and with a modified lineup, the band record two new albums, the first part of this new project being Epsilon Aurigae which arrived in December 2015 (you can check out all of these releases on Bandcamp here). June 2016 and the second part to this project is upon us. And yes, it’s another beautiful piece of work.
‘Ecumenopolis’ opens slowly, of course, its symphonic splendour soon unveiled with the guitars and drums delivering their devastation as vocalist Richard Loudin delivers his sporadic yet intense lines. Simultaneously melancholic and menacing, winding its way through a miasma of shades, textures and atmospheres, it very quickly becomes apparent that there is more to Monolithe’s doom than ever before. ‘TMA-1’ too plots a captivating arc, its movement deliberate and its mass absorbing, the guitar-work alone is incredible, particularly the solo from Enshine’s Jari Lindholm. ‘The Barren Depths’ is ominous and enthralling, guest vocalist Guyom Pavesi (of Devianz and The Copperfields) brings a mellifluous and optimistic light to the this multifaceted and colossal track.
Like its predecessor, three tracks, each exactly fifteen minutes long, Zeta Reticuli again sees bass, drums, guitar, vocals, keyboards and “devices” piled up into a heaving mass of meticulously crafted, sublimely melodic, opulently grandiose and mesmerising and mysterious soundscapes. An album that’s very difficult to find fault with, it’s also very difficult to find the words to describe the immensity, the impact and the experience of Zeta Reticuli. The production is outstanding, the song-writing is exceptional, and each of the musicians perform with one goal in mind: the satisfaction of the track and the album, nothing more, nothing less. Referred to as a doom band, there’s much more to Monolithe than any genre tag can convey. “Progressive” might work but only if by “progressive” it means the constant evolution of the artists because like Epsilon Aurigae, Zeta Reticuli is more than music. This is art.
9.5 out of 10
- The Barren Depths