Intensity & Intention: Monoliths, «Monoliths»

MonolithsDear friend,

sometimes it’s like when you read a recipe: you consider the ingredients, and then, after a quick thought, you’d say: this must be good. Same thing with Monoliths (btw, as a metalhead, let me dream of a world where everybody is able and willing to discuss similarities and differences between Monoliths, Monolithe and Monolith): when I read that Byrne from Bismuth, Tobin from Ommadon & Davies from Moloch, to quote their words, «came together in Nottingham through a love of raw and heavy metal [to] play heavy and slow. No plan, no goals, just riffs», I said: this must be awfully good.

And it is.

You may ask in which ways this could be called ‘good’. Well, in several ways, actually.

First of all I always find exciting when you can hear the birth of the riff, starting from the raw material sunk in the feedback: it takes nearly three minutes to the three guys to extract and set in motion the riff of the first track – quite aptly titled Perpetual motion –, and then you have it: a black engine (a «monster of a traction engine», as Paul Quinn of «Ghost Cult» says), a reactor with unlimited fuel that can take you really down below.

Moreover the doom is definitely there, in that half an hour of music. It’s the kind of doom I like the most: heavy but not too angry, serious but not stuffy, obstinate but vast, slow but not motionless. With the strong use of repetition comes also a strong sense of drone, which is always the testbed for the power of the riff.

Then you have a sharp sense of spontaneity and need – the noise of the strings (and the drums) being played with as much intensity and intention as possible. Still, you can easily imagine them playing their riffs for ever, as if there were nothing else left to do.

As you can see, I always try to find poor words for what is just good metal, very good doom in this case, so let’s say that Monoliths sounds like a powerful and healthy radiation, and let’s hope this is just the beginning.

Yours heavily, mp

Monoliths, Monoliths, Dry Cough Records 2016.