Monolord ~ Empress Rising (2014)
Sweden have quickly become a relentless bullheaded power house within the whole doom scene of recent. I guess theres just something in the water up there, and if Monolord's Empress Rising is anything to go by, my conclusion is that that something is heavy, dirty and highly contagious.
Stepping up to join the ever growing roster of similar down tuned Swedes such as Brutus, Spelljammer, Mammoth Storm, Deville, Moon Coven and the mighty Salem's Pot, Monolord stand out, to me at least, by fusing their particular brand of doom with subtle elements of dirty southern sludge. It's not immediately apparent to the untrained ear but theres always a certain something there, lingering in the background of every track. That slightly more uptempo approach or that little 'twang' that rings reminiscent of the likes of Down, Crowbar and Acid Bath. Kinda like how Soilent Green do the same with their sludge. It's subtle, but its there, much like their inclusion of an underlying layer of psych that effortlessly reverbs you down to your very bones. In fact, I'd go out on a limb and say they'd almost blurred the lines between doom and psych here, which granted, isn't exactly a new concept but it does lack a lot of that avant-garde bullshit that usually comes along with the aforementioned combo. I'm not one for adding to that ever increasing list of daft sub-genres, but I'd happily welcome the term 'dark psych' with outstretched arms, to describe these chaps. It's perfectly fitting to whats been so carefully and brilliantly crafted here. Every rumble and haunting wail shakes and rattles with an eerie sombre ferocity that those good ol' Scandinavians just seem to have such a handle on. You can't ignore Monolord, nor should you. It may well take a couple of listens for you acclimatise to, or full appreciate the true spectacle that is Empress Rising, but I can guarantee that at some point something will just click, and this album will find its play count racking up exponentially.
If you haven't already, hit up our good friends Easyrider Records and pick yourself a copy on beautiful wax. It's a real no-brainer.
For Fans Of; Yob, Mountain Witch, Mammoth Storm, Spelljammer, Shallow Grave