Friday, May 24, 2013

Behold! The Monolith - Behold! The Monolith

I'll get back to my inbox soon enough. For now...

Behold! The Monolith are an absolutely ridiculous stoner doom metal outfit with an emphasis on jamming out delectable riffs and grooves. Their album art is silly, their song titles are sillier. 
Some self-proclaimed scrupulous individuals make arguments against such direct, fun music because of the aesthetic of entertainment when compared to that of art. These people are soul-sucking sycophantical pieces of shit.

Perhaps the above generalization was a bit strong. I just never understood the use of that argument as a valid reason to hate everything that a particular medium has to offer. People love to make that argument against stoner or psychedelic metal too, and even stupider individuals proclaim that Electric Wizard are a bunch of image-obsessed teenagers - see Metal-Archives. Anyway rant over - here's a review.

Over the multitude of times I've sat through Behold! The Monolith's self-titled, I've come to the conclusion that they don't write catchy music. There are no ridiculous hooks, no catchy chorales, the vocals have an odd mid-ranged timbre to them, and there's plenty of droning riffs that aren't immediately impressive. These elements combine to create a solid release. It's just not the individual pieces that make it strong.

Unified the album stands perfectly fine as both active and passive listening material. Occasionally I'll find myself getting into the album when I don't even realize it's currently playing. "Battlestagg" and "Elders" are more traditional 'rocking' stoner doom songs with a load of groove and a pinch of improvisation. This is my favorite element of Behold! The Monolith's music. They sound like a bunch of guys just trying to have fun playing music, jamming out tunes that have a bit more to them than meets the ear. I'm not too fond of the building song dynamic on "Phantasmata / Waking Life" and the slow decline at the end of "Battle For Balls Deep," though.

Guitar tone is hugely important in stoner doom and while it is nice and chunky here, I'm not sure that I wouldn't mind a bit more massive, say Boss-FZ2 sound. The production and mixing are also solid. Every instrument is audible, vocals aren't at the top and there's plenty of bass to go around.

Behold! The Monolith have a nice idea here and they certainly improve upon themselves on their 2012 release.

7.75 out of 10

1. Battlestagg
2. Battle For Balls Deep
3. Elders
4. Phantasmata / Waking Life
5. Guardians of the Abyss / Primal Extenuation / Rise of the Brohemoth


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