Originally written by Ramar Pittance
If I were to tell you that one of the finest pieces of music I’ve heard in the past few months was a 52 minute concept album of funeral doom consisting of only one song, would you believe me, or just call me an asshole? That’s a rhetorical question. I know I’m an asshole. But, this album. I know it’s good.
Damn. Monolithe. I knew this band had potential. Their first album, I, was highly tolerable. Which speaks volumes, especially considering the delicate formula they manipulate. When funeral doom bands fuck up, they fuck up hard. But Monolithe definitely pulled off their first album with style. Like II, I was also a one song deal. And I don’t hesitate to use the word song. Unlike most artists who’ve tackled the single track opus, Monolithe were able to construct something coherent and resolute. Something that made you believe the carrot was worth the stick. II, which is the proper beginning of the story to which I was the prologue, is a fine example of what happens when musical progression goes right. While retaining elements of what made their previous work shine, cutting some of the needless chaff, tightening the performances, and bolstering their production, II plays as a logical follow up in both concept and execution.
Surface comparisons can be drawn to like minded acts such as Pantheist, Tyranny, and Skepticism. But, the stream of recursive melody that flows through II more appropriately frames Monolithe as funeral doom’s answer to early Katatonia or Hvis Lysett Tar Oss era Burzum — each band sharing an uncanny ability to conclude songs with melodic passages that make the entire experience worthwhile. The climax of II comes at about the 39 minute mark when the churning maelstrom momentarily gives way to an unexpected but charmingly executed interplay between bass guitar and accordion. It’s the kind of moment I was waiting for from this song, and I’m grateful they weren’t so caught up in the artistic aspirations to appease me.
Again, I’m surprised a funeral doom album could be this satisfying. But, I’m not surprised that Monolithe was the band to pull it off. This is a praiseworthy effort not only because it serves as such a strong example of potential fulfilled, but it proves that good songwriting is good songwriting, regardless of the context.