MONOLITH CULT – GOSPEL OF DESPAIR (Transcending Records)
Out of West Yorkshire, England (and I had to do a huge amount of homework to find that out) comes Monolith Cult, a doom metal band that actually had someone do an original art piece for their cover. Much respect for the attention to detail, guys. And they are set to release their album Gospel of Despair (Transcending Records) on November 11th.
When the journalists at BRM write reviews, they select the ones they are interested in taking, so they pick out the reviews they want to do from the genres they want to do them. Which is nice, it keeps everyone comfortable and happy, but sometimes I prefer that April Baggins pick out some random artists/albums so I can go into the writing process with a clear head and a blind ear.
That being said, I’m not very familiar with current doom metal bands, most of the bands I’ve followed are from the decades before the twenty teens. So when I say that Monolith Cult surprised the hell out of me, you understand my full meaning.
Strictly speaking, I don’t think you can comfortably classify Monolith Cult as doom metal. They had a guy from Bal Sagoth helping them in the production room, but I don’t really think that did anything to doom up their repertoire. I hear subtle (very subtle) tones of My Dying Bride, but mostly what I hear, and this is what really perked my ears up, is the band NEVERMORE, which I fucking adore. The likeness can be picked up on with tracks three and five, “Kings of All that’s Lost” and “Sympathy for the Living.”
Monolith Cult could be considered doom metal, if Bry Outlaw’s vocals were not so prevalent, but then I would not have liked Gospel of Despair as much as I did. The tracks have a nice sort of down-driven tone, but Bry’s voice just has this aphoristic, ethereal tone to it that comfortably removes Monolith Cult from that genre. They fit more appropriately into the stoner metal subgenre, but there’s still a progressive edge to their sound, so still not quite the lazy style normally associated with that either. So what I’m getting at is that Monolith Cult is their own genre and it is called progressive doom stoner metal and it has a nice ring to it.
Anyone can easily enjoy an album like Gospel of Despair, no matter what your metal subgenre preference is; while it’s slow, it is not uninteresting or lethargic. It is intriguing because Monolith Cult’s sound is quite unexpected from a band that classifies themselves as doom metal. That said, there is a minor flaw in the Gospel of Despair Death Star, and no it is not a trap, but it is that the tracks all kind of sound the same. To be fair to Monolith Cult, it is understood that monotony is a staple of the doom genre and while that is the sound they’re going for, they are better than that, so it is a little disappointing. I’d have liked to hear some variation in the tracks, even just one track completely out of their wheelhouse (so to speak), focusing more on that killer progressive metal undertone, maybe the next album (hint, hint).
Gospel of Despair is a really good album; it is chocked full of the slower tempo, low-tuned guitars expected of a doom album, but stands out from the ‘typical doom crowd’ because of the mix of groove-laden bass found in stoner metal and the more progressive metal vocal style. And for that, ol’ Hobbes gives this album a 3.5 out of 5.0 axes.
Also, someone get David Allen a stage name, everyone else has one…is he chopped liver?!
Gospel of Despair drops November 11, 2017.
FFO: My Dying Bride, Nevermore
Bry Outlaw – vocals
Lee Baines- guitar
Wayne Hustler – guitar
Izak Buxton – bass
David Allen – drums
01 – Disconnection Syndrome
02 – The Gospel of Despair
03 – Kings of all that’s Lost
04 – Chaothia in Memorium
05 – Sympathy for the Living
06 – Complicit in your own Abuse
07 – Death means Nothing
Check out Monolith Cult here:
Written by Hobbes Caltous for Bloodrock Media, October 25, 2017