Release Date: Out Now
Review by Thomas Riley Lanyon
Doom is, and has always been, one of the more evocative sub-genres of metal. It is monolithic, hypnotic, crushing, and at times, hopeful and transcendent. Quiet spaces collapse into colossal riffs and molass-like drum tempos. It is, essentially, a testament to the power of heavy music.
That atmospheric power is showcased to wondrous effect on, ‘Vænir’, the second full-length album from Gothenburg three piece, Monolord. ‘Vænir’ is a mesmerising trip into the abyss, brimming with fuzzed out riffs, thunderous drums, and psychedelic vocals. ‘Cursing the One’ canters out of the gate like a concrete horse, trampling the listener beneath a blues groove caked in low-end sludge. ‘We Will Burn’ and ‘Nuclear Death’ build on this strong foundation, with the addition of rich, thick guitar lines that cut through the grit to great effect. The former closes with a chasmic, lurching groove that will lodge itself deep into your brain, while the latter has a bridge that slows the barrage to a glacial pace that will make your windows rattle in their frames.
At only a couple of minutes in length, ‘The Cosmic Silence’ is by far the shortest track on ‘Vænir’, serving as a timely interlude between the epic, ten minute long, ‘Died a Million Times’, and the near seventeen minute title track that closes out the album. It is a breath of fresh air, providing respite through the use of soft, prog-rock instrumentation and a folky vocal melody, bringing to mind the quieter work of bands like King Crimson and Led Zeppelin.
A majority of the songs found on ‘Vænir’ are built upon the foundation of a blues groove, which prevents Monolord from ever straying too far into the drawn out, droning territory that many of their peers occupy. They also stand apart vocally, through the use of clean, reverb-drenched vocals, which provide ‘Vænir’ with a heavy, psychedelic feel. It is this psychedelic quality, paired with driving doom instrumentation, that has and will continue to carve out an identity for Monolord. An identity that, on the back of ‘Vænir’, looks very promising indeed.