Soothsayer – At This Great Depth (Review)

SoothsayerSoothsayer are a doom band from Ireland. This is their latest release.

Soothsayer play atmospheric doom/sludge that thrives on dense, dark emotion and otherworldly atmospheres.

This is slow-building music that wields atmosphere like a wrecking ball, crushing everything around it with the sheer weight of oppressive mood and feeling. Continue reading

Interview with Monolithe

Monolithe Logo

French doom band Monolithe continue to impress with every new release, and latest album Zeta Reticuli is no exception. Guitarist Rémi Brochard explains a bit more about the concept behind the release, and how it fits in with Epsilon Aurigae

Introduce us to Monolithe!

MONOLITHE is a dark/doom metal band. The band was created in 2001 by guitarist/songwriter Sylvain Bégot and has released 6 albums, one compilation and 2 EP.

What are your influences?

In the beginnings, that might be British early doom/death bands, some death metal bands and a lot of everything else, really.

Name five things you’ve listened to recently that you’d recommend

Actually, speaking for myself, I listen to prog metal a lot, with greats bands such as Circus Maximus. I also listened to the last Moonsorrow; not their best but still a great album that I highly recommend. I discovered the new Winterhorde album, Maestro, a prog black metal band which kicks ass. Also King, the last Fleshgod Apocalypse album, and a nice discovery: Carpenter Brut, a French electro project, which reminds me the movie Drive’s OST! Continue reading

Monolithe – Zeta Reticuli (Review)

MonolitheMonolithe are a French doom band, and this is their sixth album.

Monolithe are no stranger to this site, having been covered previously here, here and here. This latest album is the second part, a companion release, as it were, to their last one, Epsilon Aurigae, and continues their evolution away from their original funeral doom style into uncharted territories.

Like Epsilon Aurigae, Zeta Reticuli sees the band keeping aspects of funeral doom, but adding increasingly progressive influences to their sound. It also sees them keeping the same format – three songs, 15:00 minutes each, exactly. Continue reading

0N0 – Reconstruction and Synthesis (Review)

0N0This is the second album from this Slovakian industrial death/doom band.

Now this is an interesting release.

0N0 combine the industrial, death metal and doom genres together, creating an album that has aspects of all weaved into its genes.

How to classify this? Well, extreme metal is the easy cop out, and as these things don’t ultimately matter that much, I suppose that will do. Industrial death/doom is more specific, of course, but there we are.

Think of the something like Continue reading

Abyssic – A Winter’s Tale (Review)

AbyssicThis is the début album from Norwegian Symphonic Doom/Death band Abyssic.

Well this is an absolute monster of an album. At 79 minutes in length and featuring just four tracks, Abyssic certainly know how to provide the listener with a lot to get their teeth into.

A decent stylistic reference point for Abyssic would initially be the old Peaceville roster, with bands like Anathema, My Dying Bride and Paradise Lost all providing an idea of what the base of the band is like. Only longer and more epic, of course. Once you have this in your mind’s eye, mix in some more modern, epic funeral Doom from the likes of Monolithe, as well as a sterling Classical influence, and you’ll have a good idea of what Abyssic are getting up to here.

The symphonic aspects of Abyssic’s sound are big, bold and unashamedly impressive. Abyssic don’t hold back, and nor should they. This is a band that manage to incorporate the symphonic and Classical elements into their sound in a holistic and complete way, rather than having them just added on at the end. The music easily takes on a cinematic legendary feel and each of these long songs feels like a story. Nay, a saga.

A Winter’s Tale benefits from a huge and lavish production that allows all of the different parts of their repertoire to sound clear and crushing. Thick guitars and textured keyboards merge together with the crushing drums to provide the listener with a very engaging and absorbing listen. The songs may be long, but if you have the time to spare for them then there is so much here to enjoy.

For the most part the vocals are deep, dark growls, of the kind that are pretty much standard for Death/Doom. That’s not to say they’re not effective or don’t do their job though.

Long they may be, but these songs justify their own existence by being so damn impressive and well-put together. The band know their stuff, that’s for sure. Amazingly, given the length, these tracks don’t get boring and the lavish, lush orchestration is a constant joy to listen to, especially when combined with the heaviness of the guitars.

This atmospheric album really nails the best parts of the Death/Doom style for me, and the overwrought symphonic elements are just candy to my ears, pulling the whole thing up to another level.

Very highly recommended.

Monolithe – Epsilon Aurigae (Review)

MonolitheMonolithe are a French Doom band. This is their fifth album.

This is somewhat of a departure from the normal Monolithe style in more ways than one. Previously specialising in hugely-long forays into cosmic Funeral Doom, (such as Interlude Second and Zero/II), here we have three songs, (each exactly 15 minutes long), more muted, subtly-mysterious artwork and music that has undergone a slight change in direction too.

Although Epsilon Aurigae is musically not a complete change, it is markedly less Funeral Doom and instead travels down a more Progressive Doom Metal pathway. Elements of their Funeral Doom past are still apparent in the songs of course, with emotive content and subtle, (and not), keyboards still a mainstay of their sound. On this release though, this is added to and enhanced by other influences that give the band an even more well-rounded sound than they had previously.

The deep, dark, growled vocals punctuate the music like storm clouds over a choppy, violent ocean. The music moves with a sure inevitability underneath the aggressively overcast skies like an unstoppable force. The music does sound like a force of nature, albeit one that’s manufactured and artificial rather than being entirely natural; a force of unnature, if you will.

This is an impressive development in Monolithe’s sound and Epsilon Aurigae is quite possibly some of their best work to date.

Highly recommended.

Ophis – Abhorrence in Opulence (Review)

OphisThis is the third album from Germany’s Ophis. They play Funeral Doom Metal.

For the most part this colossal album is a slow-moving beast of depression and negativity, encapsulated in morbid Doom Metal.

Ophis do have a Death Metal influence, however, which rears its ugly head now and again, most noticeably on the final track Resurrectum.

The songs are long and the mood bleak. There is no light in the world of Ophis, only varying shades of grey and pain.

For reference points think bands such as Monolithe, Eye of Solitude, (old) Anathema, (old) My Dying Bride, etc.

The band boast a crushing production that allows the slowness to unveil at its own pace. The strong drum sound underpins everything whilst the guitars chug and wail. Plaintive melodies and downbeat auras pervade everything, with these being overlain by the deep growls of the vocalist.

This is a long and involving album that lasts the course and doesn’t get boring. The added Death Metal influences mean it doesn’t become stale or one dimensional and the songs have enough top riffs and melodies to satisfy fans of this style.

Ophis have produced an album that may be rooted in everything miserable and depressing but that I, for one, find really enjoyable and worthy.

Check them out.

Monolithe – Zero/II (Review)

0France’s Monolithe play Doom. And lots of it.

This is a review of two releases, Zero and II, both of which are reissues.

Zero contains one new intro track, as well as the entirety of their Interlude First and Interlude Second EPs. Both have been completely remastered, as well as the two tracks that comprised Interlude Second being combined together into one long song. You can read my original review of Interlude Second here.

II is their second album, containing one 50 minute song, and has also been completely remastered.

So what’s changed? Essentially the sound is a lot fuller, well-rounded and less plastic feeling. The originals had a perfectly fine sound of course, but the songs now sound as if they are clearer, warmer and just plain better. The instruments are in a better place balance-wise and the bass seems more noticeable as well.

IIMonolithe specialise in epic Doom of the long variety, with lots to take in and some space-age effects added into the mix.

Deep, bowel-shaking growls accompany the music and the band create dirge-like soundscapes that accompany the listener on a musical journey through unexpected places and wide vistas of possibilities.

If you’re unfamiliar with Monolithe these are an excellent set of releases to start with.

I heartily recommend both.

Monolithe – Interlude Second (Review)

MonolitheAnother solid release from Monolithe. They really do play some exceptional doom. After recently getting their Monolithe II album I knew this was going to be good and I was not disappointed.

If you have not encountered Monolithe before they play crawling, mysterious Doom with an emphasis on the heavy.

This is only a two-track EP ‘interlude’ between their main releases, but there is still over 36 minutes of music here – all of it of a high quality and well worth a purchase. Monolithe are not a band for everyone – the repetitive drone-esque heaviness will just be more than some people can stomach. Never-the-less; devotees of all things slow will find a goldmine of doom to be found in their work, and this EP is fitting as a good introduction to the band and as preparation for the doom-a-thons that are their albums.

Interested? Have a listen and then hop over to Bandcamp to get it – it’s currently only €0.50 and an absolute steal at that price.