[Reviewed by: Iaha Crax]
Since the project’s inception, to our ears and minds Monolithe has been a gem of bombastic doom constructed in such a witty manner as to combine and appease every listener’s dream to be crushed under the pillars of this singular, masochistic metal genre. Sylvain Bégot, the mastermind of the project, together with the other three members embarked on a voyage resembling an odyssey, marked by four mythical doom-metal albums, each one composed of a single piece lasting for about an exhilarating hour. Monolithe is to be ranked among those rare and heavy-shining beacons, placed as a metaphoric benchmark in the mind of the listener.
Debemur Morti, the label that released their “III” and “IV” albums, decided to share with us two rare EPs formerly available only in digital format. “Monolithe Zero” reunites these EPs entitled “Interlude”, and adds a special cover version of a Skepticism song.
“Also Sprach Zarathustra” introduces us in grandiose style to the heavy-laden articulations of “Monolithic Pillars”. The track is remastered to capture a special ancestral vibe, setting up the décor for an atemporal location; a place the incomprehensible dimensions of which oppress the human sensory apparatus, as the musical performance builds up and around ample, massive three-dimensional forms. Besides the dramatic choreography on which the heavy-doom musicianship is based, there is that remarkable intertwining from the keyboards, sometimes played as compensation for the terrible background music, other times suddenly sprouting up and deranging the already inescapable reverie. Like no other, Monolithe knows how to narrate their adventure and have us take part in it; their musical writing seems fit to accompany lecture and research, and in these terms “Monolithic Pillars” can be read as a documentary.
Monolithe makes a cover version of Skepticism’s “Edges”, a song from “Lead and Aether”. The eulogy is primitive and demonic, as if the vision of the other side encounters not relief but ferocious abominations. If the Skepticism original song valued an ethereal dissipation and forgetfulness, Monolithe lead us here to realms of carnal punishment.
The French project should be immediately recognized by their progressive conceptual doom-metal, somehow eschewing any genre limitations in the way their compatriots Misanthrope report to death metal. Thematically they have developed a particular story that is continued on each of their albums, and is basically related to the origins of the universe from a theistic point of view. This special and why not, rather unique narrative side of their music never fails to take possession of the listener by means of the musical architecture emerging from it. The cinematic song “Harmony Of Null Matter” plunders our senses for more than half an hour, shifting only a little on fastidious accords, only to keep us concentrated and earnest in turning the page and coming to a conclusion…Like on Darkspace’s visceral infusion of an effluvia of hypnotic sounds, Monolithe sweeps and seeps in richly coloured hues, painting just as the music discloses itself, an entire gallery of galactic artifacts.
Perhaps “Monolithe Zero” will mark another beginning for the band. This recording regaled by Debemur Morti has brought into light the legendary apparition that once again may rise out of the ancient monoliths.