Friday, May 24, 2013

Behold! The Monolith - Defender, Redeemist

Behold! The Monolith's sophomore effort was one of my favorite albums from 2012. I generally thought the year was shit though, so if you read my list you probably weren't too impressed. However if you enjoy stoner doom and passive listening music, this album is great and holds up very well to multiple spins.

I garnered a few conclusions about Behold! The Monolith's brand of stoner doom from their debut:

1. They like to play slow, jamming tunes
2. Mid-range, nearly monotone rasping can be sufficiently entertaining
3. Multiple listens allow the listener to appreciate the nuanced songwriting

I came to these conclusions again on Defender, Redeemist, yet I came to every conclusion faster and more readily. Behold! The Monolith had successfully amplified their debut's successful formula and created a beast of a stoner doom jam-fest. Defender, Redeemist became one of my most played albums of 2012 because of that. From bombastic intro "The Guardian's Procession" to the slow dregs of "Redeemist" and "Bull Colossi," every track is resonating with powerful riffing and grooves. "Witch Hunt Supreme" in particular is chock-full of headbangable, classic doom grooves.

I'm a big proponent of the completely fantastical lyrical thematic in stoner doom. It reeks of pure creativity, even if at time that creativity is a bit stigmatized by the whole 'stoner' aesthetic. I guess that only makes sense considering the music though. Behold! The Monolith like to use this theme to their advantage and thus you get belted lyrics like "Fear me son of the red priest fire for eyes / sent down from the cosmos / paid with untold lives / demonic wave from the sky" It's simple, it rhymes, and best of all it's colorful. I really appreciate that Behold! The Monolith try to inject a bit of personality into the songwriting process. It shows through in the end and makes the album more compelling.

The production and mixing job on Defender, Redeemist is comparable to the debut, with chunky guitars dominating mid-ranged vocals and a fat bass tone. There's significantly less 'building' song dynamics on here too, which is a huge plus for me. Even the thirteen-minute "Cast on the Black Tormentor Guided by the Southern Cross" is completely devoid of useless filler.

If you enjoyed the debut or you're just looking for some fun, easy-listening, deliberately paced and executed stoner doom, then Defender, Redeemist should be right up your alley. There's no ridiculously named tracks on this one though.

8.5 out of 10

1. Guardian's Procession
2. Halv King
3. Desolizator
4. Redeemist
5. We Are The Worm
6. Witch Hunt Supreme
7. Cast On The Black Lamentor Guided By The Southern Cross
8. Bull Colossi


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