Monday, July 27, 2015

Behold! The Monolith "Architects of the Void"

    Standing upon a plateau looking over riff filled valley of massive distortion you turn behind to see the black monolith emitting sounds of doom and sludge. Los Angeles based doom dealers, Behold! The Monolith, do not hesitate to blow listener’s eardrums away with their new album, “Architects of the Void.”
    For this album, the band worked with legendary producer Billy Anderson who has work with bands like Leviathan, OM, Weedeater, High on Fire and Neurosis to name a few. You definitely hear that abrasive and bombastic doom sound with Behold! The Monolith. There are some mellow moments, but for the most part, listeners are given thunderous sounding riffs and crushing Sabbath like jams. There is this fierce guitar tone throughout the album that creates some unbelievably dark musical landscapes.
    Behold! The Monolith kickstarts this album off with the song, “Umbral Vale.” Right away there is an explosion of heavy sludge style guitar and the drums slowly build the piece up in a ceremonial fashion. The track takes on this atmospheric doom quality with emphasis on the full guitar chords. Vocally, the band uses this echoing growl that came across as more of a background noise instead of being used to narrate the lyrics. Track two, “Philosopher’s Blade,” starts to bring in the traditional doom metal style songwriting structure. You get those minor chords and tritone riffs going and it just makes the song sound completely sinister. 
    Track three, “The Mithriditist,” is a longer song full of slamming doom riffs and a very progressive musical development. The following song, “Lord of Bones,” held true to the band’s wicked sounding riff presentation. Behold! The Monolith does have a repetitive formula going most of the time, but their use of different tempo changes and crafting of heavy atmospheric sounds, definitely throws listeners a wide variety of doom and sludge sounds.
    For song number five, “Black Days Of,” the band composed this drone and noise driven track to really incorporate a break from the usual heavy riff based songs. “Between Oder and the Vistula” and “Architects of the Void,” finish the album with long and dynamic compositions. I felt the lyrics were sometimes covered up by the riffs, especially during the faster paced parts. I will say that the slow traditional doom breaks offered great lyrical expression when the singer used a more clean style of singing.
    Behold! The Monolith was very fortunate enough to find a producer who was album to capture this group’s raw musical style and really construct a solid sounding release. Compared to other bands who play this style that I have reviewed in the past, Behold! The Monolith at times did not offer anything new to the table. However, there were moments where I was extremely impressed by their instrumental compositions. If you are fan of sludge and doom that has a subtle progressive rock implementation, I recommend Behold! The Monolith’s, “Architects of the Void.” I do not know if these guys are really architects of the void, but they are clever doom and sludge architects.


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