Review: Monolord

monolord1Monolord, Vænir (RidingEasy Records)

I have to admit that I have a relatively short tolerance when it comes to doom as a musical style. This might have been different back in the days when I was sparked all the time, but the new more sober version of myself more often than not doesn’t have the time and/or tolerance to listen to one down tuned note played over and over for five minutes. Admittedly this is kind of a caricature, or it would be but for Sunn O))) and the bands that imitate them. There is still some life left in the genre, and Vænir, released by Gothenburg’s Monolord in April makes this point in crushing fashion.

monolord2On the doom gamut running from Sabbath (or Sleep) to Habsyll, Monolord plod down ancient pathways closer to the former end. Their recorded sound is satisfyingly chunky, their licks simple but evincing a range of pleasing and subtle variations that hold one’s interest nicely. In other respects they tick a lot of the boxes in terms of what you want from your doom band: judicious use of the wah wah, atmosphere that’s dark to the point of obscurity, and vocals that sound like someone singing a lament for lost souls from a ruined battlement.

Their six songs clock in at just over 50 minutes, which is respectable, and they have only two songs that run over ten minutes (“Died A Million Times” only just makes the cut), so you get a reasonable amount of variety. I was listening to this on my car stereo on the way to work. This usually isn’t a very promising format, in the first place because the speakers don’t provide the optimum low end response, and in the second because doom is really meant to be something in which one loses oneself (usually after about half a dozen bong tokes). But I took an extra detour on my way just to hear a bit more of this, which is a pretty good sign.

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