Grim, foul, ugly, rotten, bleak, harsh…these and similar words can all be levelled at Blind Monarch’s colossal 56-minute debut album. Across four towering tracks the band embody all of these negatively charged words and more, all in the quest for the most despairing, hopeless doom they can find.
There are moments of colour and beauty to be had in Blind Monarch’s music too, but these are definitely not the norm. They’re woven into the fabric of the music’s dark malevolence like survivors of an apocalypse; sickly, dying, and barely existing, but still hanging on for the moment at least. They probably won’t last forever, however, as the music is oppressive and suffocating in its dread doom delivery, and sounds like it wants to snuff out anything and everything good, light, or otherwise untainted.
As the long songs unfold the band treat us to harrowing vistas of doom metal carnage. You can detect the aftermath of stoner metal in some of the riffs, but these have definitely been corrupted and warped into the service of unscrupulous, venal doom. Blind Monarch’s doom is cruel and debauched, and cares not from which subgenre it takes its pleasures from. Well, if pleasure is the right word to use when describing something as cold and nefarious as What Is Imposed Must Be Endured. On this album, horror rules.
The chained daemon that has been bound and oathed to provide vocals for this malignant funeral parade is adept at both bestial growls and scathing screams. As the voice of Blind Monarch, it rules with an iron fist and a black heart. Softer cleans, both male and female, can also be heard later on in the album, primarily on the track Living Altar, (no doubt performed by some indentured slaves prior to sacrifice).
Heavy, nasty, frightful, and filled with gloomy misery, What Is Imposed Must Be Endured should definitely be tracked down and abused by anyone who takes a masochistic joy in this sort of despondent doom.