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Sunday, September 27, 2015

Review: Behold! The Monolith - Architects of the Void


I always think American metal can on one hand be more commercial than European metal and on the other hand be like a bulldozer that has to proof it can do more than European metal. Fortunately, sometimes I am wrong.

Listening to the new album of Behold! The Monilith, I am both wrong and right. From the first notes of the introductory song Umbral Vale until the last song, Architect of the Void, the listener gets bulldozed by the intensity and heaviness of the musical structures. And that is a very positive experience. Honestly, the cover warned me: a harnessed warrior stands in desolation, ready to strike yet another lethal slash with his flaming sword. The picture is a clear statement of the music this band makes.

The band calls itself a stoner/doom metalband. Here the difference between ´European´ and ´American´ comes to the surface. Scandinavian doom is slow, deep, intense music. Behold! The Monolith makes doom a near-death experience, with intense screams, growls and pushing rhythms. I would call it hardcore meets doom, though the start of Between Oder and the Vistula sounds more like death metal. Where are the easy-going passages on the album... ? well...Nowhere. O wait. The last song, with its 14 minutes, does give us a minute or so to sit down and take it all in.

The band chooses to follow the path they started in 2012 and made an album that is more complex and harsher than its predecessor, Defender, Redeemist. 2013 marked the death of leadsinger Kevin McDade in a car accident. That might make this album darker, but hey, it´s doom, so it is supposed to be dark. Jordan Nalley takes his task as vocalist very serious indeed and sounds like he has been part of this band from its start.

All in all, this album kicks ass, for those who like dark, heavy music, with intense screaming and growling. It will hit you like an unstoppable train and after listening you would be happy to have the train riding all over you again. If you like doom in a slower way, like for example Saturnus makes it, you might think again or you’d have to broaden your horizon. You will not be disappointed.

Written by Martijn Bakker

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