Monotheist – Scourge (Review)

MonotheistMonotheist are a progressive death metal band from the US and this is their debut album.

I first heard of Monotheist man many moons ago, and due to reasons that escape me, I thought they were on about their fourth album by now. So, when I picked up this for review, I thought it would be a great time to finally hear what they sound like; imagine my surprise when I discovered that this is only their debut album. Was I thinking of another band all this time? Who knows. It doesn’t really matter, of course, but this long and rather pointless preamble basically serves as an introduction, so there we are.

Anyway. Here we have 62 minutes of impressive, skilfully played progressive extreme metal. Rooted in death metal’s barbaric lineage, the band take bold steps out of this to produce a brutally expansive piece of work, one that has a lot of very satisfying content.

Combining elements of brutal, progressive, and technical death metal into their sound, Monotheist create songs that are heavy and aggressive, while still having plenty of resplendent and post-death metal moments to add layering and texture. The songs are frequently long and always involving, with some quite epic moments to be had here and there as the band explore the outer edges of death metal’s frontier. To their credit, they always manage to do this while simultaneously remembering that they’re a death metal band first and foremost, which means aggression, heaviness, and extremity.

I really like the singer’s voice. His gritty deathgrowls are deeply satisfying, and provide a brutal focal point for the carnage that the band wreak. Essentially performing in the cookie monster style, he has just the right balance of personality and inhuman soullessness in his delivery to make him very pleasing to listen to.

As well as incorporating some non-standard instruments here and there, (saxophone, congas), the band are also joined by various guests across the album too, (vocals, guitars, drums, flute). It all adds extra nuance to the songs, but without ever distracting from the core content of the band’s material.

Scourge is a highly enjoyable and ambitious release that displays the band’s considerable powers to great effect.

Very highly recommended.

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