Monolithe – From Equinox to Solstice – Live at Beltane (Review)

monolithe - from equinox to solstice - live at beltaneMonolithe are a French doom metal band and this is a live recording of a private show on May 6th, 2018 at les Feux de Beltane in Brittany, France.

I’m not really one for live albums, (although I certainly do enjoy them from time to time), but I’m a big Monolithe fan, so decided this was one definitely worth checking out.

The album contains 53 minutes of music. After a brief intro, we get 4 tracks from last year’s concept-driven Nebula Septem, an edited version of Ecumenopolis from 2016’s Zeta Reticuli, and a segment of the band’s 2003 single-track debut album Monolithe I, (the original version is almost as long as this entire album).

The quality of the music on this album is not in question. Darkly melodic, filled with a sense of cosmic grandeur, and enhanced with atmospheric keyboards, Monolithe’s blend of funeral and progressive doom is one I’ve enjoyed for many years. The band’s development from mammoth-sized science fiction-themed funeral doom tracks, to wider-ranging doom metal songs has been impressive and satisfying. This live release is a fitting demonstration of where the band are now, (or at least where they where when this was recorded in the previous year).

The quality of the recording is frequently a critical factor in my enjoyment of live albums, but on this release Monolithe sound almost as if they have been recorded in a studio. Professional and precise performances are what we get, but delivered without robbing the songs of their inherently majestic or colossal soul.

This live document showcases Monolithe’s crushing and vast brand of doom very well. I’ve been lucky with the last few live albums I’ve listened to, and From Equinox to Solstice – Live at Beltane continues this winning streak. Monolithe’s new release is extremely enjoyable and repeatedly listenable.

Highly recommended.

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