There couldn’t be a more awkward way to start this review than to reminisce about the moment I heard Sepultura‘s heaviest moment “Roots Bloody Roots” from the ‘Roots’ album back in 1996. When the guitar tone and simplistic riff hit, it was a sort of primal revelation to the world of heavy music. Bigger, beefier and tuned-below-the-hip tones flooded in as the Brazilians influenced death metal, groove metal and thrash metal to the core of their very sonic timbre. It wouldn’t be until 2000 when Electric Wizard‘s magnum opus ‘Dopethrone’, with it’s accessible stoner image and pylon-sized guitar tone, that doom metal would receive it’s similar brawny tonal modernization. The big, fuzzy-bass paired sound of Electric Wizard continues to influence doom/stoner metal bands to this day and Monolord has always existed within this sphere of influence. Their initial core appeal was that they weren’t out to reinvent that heavy doom sound but they surely intended to push that sound to it’s limits and ultimately refine it.
Monolord absolutely hit a point of perfection on their second album ‘Vænir’. On their third full-length, as you might suspect, they’ve hit an uncomfortably average plateau on ‘Rust’. Gone is the crispy “power plant explosion” guitar tone and the “Planet Caravan” style of tracks like “The Cosmic Silence” and instead we’re left with a halved amount of heaviness and some mildly interesting choruses. In many ways this resembles the first Electric Wizard album too much, minus the nods to Cathedral that made that band special in the first place. Without the death metal sized guitar tone, or the sludge-along pacing, the band has reverted to the generic antics of their first album. It is abysmally average at best. Without the variation found in “Rust”, the brilliant fifteen minute “At Niceae” that closes the album, and the memorable seance that is the chorus of “Dear Lucifer” the album would largely be a bust.
To have hit such a high on ‘Vænir’ and to be so average on this release isn’t such an earth-shattering disappointment. ‘Rust’ is still a good record and well worth listening to and supporting, it only disappoints because of unrealized potential. A safe, palatable and average record isn’t a thing to be shamed in the world of doom metal. I’d only hoped the band would challenge their boundaries like they did with the album previous, and make a bigger artistic statement.
|Released||September 29, 2017|
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