Rating:
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Monolithe - Interlude Second [EP]
2 January 2012


01. Harmony Of Null Matter - Section 1
02. Harmony Of Null Matter - Section 2


What a fascinating entity Monolithe have become. This recently emerged EP has perhaps brought them closer to the mystery that their name and artwork has always hinted at, that of the glorious existential imaginings of 2001: A Space Odyssey, than their (admittedly excellent) funeral doom incarnations of Monolithe I and Monolithe II. In fact it's safe to say they've exited the realms of doom altogether and transferred dimensions to a plateau of relatively structure-free mechanised, if not industrialised, landscaping.

Unquestionably this is a drone (though not drone metal as such) and percussion driven record. At every corner you'll experience some form of clicking-cum-pounding array of drum patterning, permanently shrouded in tightly wrapped and timed bass, with a looser, snaking yet ever-present synth circling it like rock and ice particles orbiting a planet. The guitars are there... somewhere, but it's difficult to evaluate their true relevance until the shorter, second track begins where they define themselves in clear, discordant, yet melodic strokes. The occasional breaking gruff vocal exclamations scattered throughout its 35 minute discourse neither add or take much away from the music other than perhaps giving a familiar glimpse of normality. This is not music that is pointed toward any trite emotional exposition, the melancholy of doom or the coldness of black metal, it isn't going to require hours of mental preparation or a round trip of Merzbow and Throbbing Gristle records to acclimate oneself, it's surprisingly neutral and palatable. Just ultimately different. Ultimately alien.

A 25 + 10 minute duo of obscure convention breaking sonic exploration might seem too much of an undertaking to sit through, but... it really isn't. As I said, this isn't aimed at distorting the mind through pain and force, rather by a mellow form of attrition and hypnosis, slowly working its way under the skin. By its end it'll feel like a pleasant drone. The back of your neck will resonate with the bass, your grey matter will have adapted to the timezone of the drums effortlessly and your memory will have recognised the paths of the synths. You'll be happy, if spatially bemused.

It's no secret that Blut Aus Nord's masterbrain, Vindsval, has or at least had incorporated Monolithe into his record label Appease Me with promises of featuring himself as a vocal talent on the long awaited Monolithe III (now supposedly being released under Debemur Mortii) so one has to ponder at the influential forces he exerted on this. Even so, this is far from his nihilistic and apocalyptic undertakings, and while often atonal, it is rarely unpleasant and difficult but always thoroughly excellent. But don't take my word for it, take theirs.


Band profile: Monolithe
Album: Interlude Second


 


written by !J.O.O.E.! | 14.03.2012

Guest review by
InnerSelf

Rating:
8.9
Those of you familiar with 2001: A Space Odyssey know what the Monolith stands for, an unearthly messenger that saved the man-ape from extinction and taught him how to hunt and survive in a barren desiccated land. Its appearance was the fictional point in history when we, humans, truly exited from the most primeval and undeveloped version of us. Monolithe assume the role of this beacon of enlightenment, taking us in a journey far beyond in space towards cosmic realms no man ever dreamed of reaching

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published 16.04.2012 | Comments (3)



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Merchant of Doom - 16.03.2012 at 15:07  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 16.03.2012 at 14:36

Written by Merchant of Doom on 16.03.2012 at 14:34

I don't hear any drone (or frone) in this. I would call it apocalyptic progressive doom metal(ish)... completely different from the previous two albums.

What kind of drone were you thinking of? You may or may not realise but "drone" isn't restricted to drone metal (and as I said in the review this is not drone metal). In fact as a concept it was around way before (even used in classical music). This isn't any form of progressive doom because there's no doom here whatsoever. If this album had no prior connection to the doom scene you or anyone else wouldn't be using words like "doom". This is a textural soundscaping exercise that isn't noise and it isn't dark ambient, it ultimately ends up more of a drone product than anything else (or some kind of experimental music if you wanted). I mean really, where the hell are the "doom" riffs? And why do you think this is "apocalyptic"? This band is themed along the lines of the human origin, if anything that's the polar opposite of apocalyptic.


well, Sylvain Bégot still calls it a doom project and it's definitely doom inspired (at least the first part). I would still use the word doom, because it has its roots in doom (the harsh vocals pretty much underline the concept) and - as far as I'm concerned - has a doomy underlying atmosphere. It's not just the music or the riffs. Doom music doesn't have to have riffs. It's quite tiring hearing these stereotypes about doom metal on this site. And I still think it's progressive and not drone - and I didn't say you called it drone metal. It's still not drone. And if 2001: Space Odyssey (which you quoted) is not apocalyptic, then tell me what it is... all in all a very misguided review, if you want my frank opinion.
!J.O.O.E.! - 16.03.2012 at 15:15  
Written by Merchant of Doom on 16.03.2012 at 15:07


well, Sylvain Bégot still calls it a doom project and it's definitely doom inspired (at least the first part). I would still use the word doom, because it has its roots in doom (the harsh vocals pretty much underline the concept) and - as far as I'm concerned - has a doomy underlying atmosphere. It's not just the music or the riffs. Doom music doesn't have to have riffs. It's quite tiring hearing these stereotypes about doom metal on this site. And I still think it's progressive and not drone - and I didn't say you called it drone metal. It's still not drone. And if 2001: Space Odyssey (which you quoted) is not apocalyptic, then tell me what it is... all in all a very misguided review, if you want my frank opinion.


He can call it a pop-thrash project if he wants, it doesn't make it so. Roots and previous records are irrelevant when it's the music that speaks for itself. The vocals could belong to a number of genres, a pointless example, it doesn't lend itself in any way to a "doom" category or feel.

It's funny, you're talking about stereotypes about genre classifications yet it's you that's forcing the issue of what this "is" - it's clear to me you have such an attachment to everything "doom" that you're seeing doom wherever and whenever you want to, even when it doesn't exist. This isn't progressing anything, most certainly not doom. If you want to see doom in everything and transcend it to a magical la-la dimension where doom can exist without some kind of tangible riff or concept from which it is made and known then that's your business but please don't pollute other people's logic with such drivel

And I would absolutely not call 2001 an apocalyptic film. What an utterly ridiculous notion... apocalytpic = end of humanity. Please point out where that theme fits into 2001, bearing in mind the film is more concerned with human evolution, again, the polar opposite of apocalyptic. It's been a while since I met someone with such a tenuous grip on reality, it's you that's totally misguided ;]
Merchant of Doom - 16.03.2012 at 15:38  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 16.03.2012 at 15:15

Written by Merchant of Doom on 16.03.2012 at 15:07


well, Sylvain Bégot still calls it a doom project and it's definitely doom inspired (at least the first part). I would still use the word doom, because it has its roots in doom (the harsh vocals pretty much underline the concept) and - as far as I'm concerned - has a doomy underlying atmosphere. It's not just the music or the riffs. Doom music doesn't have to have riffs. It's quite tiring hearing these stereotypes about doom metal on this site. And I still think it's progressive and not drone - and I didn't say you called it drone metal. It's still not drone. And if 2001: Space Odyssey (which you quoted) is not apocalyptic, then tell me what it is... all in all a very misguided review, if you want my frank opinion.


He can call it a pop-thrash project if he wants, it doesn't make it so. Roots and previous records are irrelevant when it's the music that speaks for itself. The vocals could belong to a number of genres, a pointless example, it doesn't lend itself in any way to a "doom" category or feel.

It's funny, you're talking about stereotypes about genre classifications yet it's you that's forcing the issue of what this "is" - it's clear to me you have such an attachment to everything "doom" that you're seeing doom wherever and whenever you want to, even when it doesn't exist. This isn't progressing anything, most certainly not doom. If you want to see doom in everything and transcend it to a magical la-la dimension where doom can exist without some kind of tangible riff or concept from which it is made and known then that's your business but please don't pollute other people's logic with such drivel

And I would absolutely not call 2001 an apocalyptic film. What an utterly ridiculous notion... apocalytpic = end of humanity. Please point out where that theme fits into 2001, bearing in mind the film is more concerned with human evolution, again, the polar opposite of apocalyptic. It's been a while since I met someone with such a tenuous grip on reality, it's you that's totally misguided ;]



I always love it when reviewers can't take criticism and resort to insulting other people's opinions. No wonder your average audience is 15.
!J.O.O.E.! - 16.03.2012 at 15:43  
Written by Merchant of Doom on 16.03.2012 at 15:38



I always love it when reviewers can't take criticism and resort to insulting other people's opinions. No wonder your average audience is 15.

I'm calling your opinions ridiculous and I've levelled counter arguments against those ridiculous opinions (which you've yet to answer by the way).

What you're doing isn't criticism, it's plain absurdity ;] And trying to change tact to this attempt at making me out as someone committing the Ad Hominem Fallacy is not only untrue (because I've countered what you've posited, even when what you've stated is virtually impossible to tackle logically) but it seems like a feeble way of avoiding the topic at hand.
Merchant of Doom - 16.03.2012 at 15:46  
Of course it is. Because I don't like your tone. We can discuss it when you grow up.
!J.O.O.E.! - 16.03.2012 at 15:46  
Written by Merchant of Doom on 16.03.2012 at 15:46

Of course it is. Because I don't like your tone. We can discuss it when you grow up.

Ok, we'll discuss this when you get a grip on reality and stop making the world spin around your own head ;]
Marcel Hubregtse - 16.03.2012 at 15:52  
Seems someone is hurt... and that someone isn''t the reviewer
!J.O.O.E.! - 16.03.2012 at 16:10  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 16.03.2012 at 15:52

Seems someone is hurt... and that someone isn''t the reviewer

Well I probably shouldn't have called him ridiculous but when I remember it's someone who's made a career from pointing out errors in people's reviews with his own made up criteria about doom and what have you I start to feel less bad.
Troy Killjoy - 16.03.2012 at 16:10  
What a joke. This is probably the least misguided review I've read on this site - including reviews I myself have written. The only doom bits I heard were the vocals, which reminded me of Esoteric, which on their own do not make this in any other way associated with doom at all.

It's weird to see you get defensive over being called out for trying to assert yourself as a doom elitist, MoD.
Merchant of Doom - 16.03.2012 at 16:33  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 16.03.2012 at 16:10


It's weird to see you get defensive over being called out for trying to assert yourself as a doom elitist, MoD.



I have feelings too, you know? Incident closed...
Boxcar Willy - 16.03.2012 at 16:41  
pisymbol - 16.03.2012 at 18:05  
The review is spot-on and well written. I just finished my first listen and this is drone, plain and simple. I enjoyed it but with all drone albums, it usually takes me 2-3 listens before I even think of a rating.
!J.O.O.E.! - 16.03.2012 at 18:38  
Written by pisymbol on 16.03.2012 at 18:05

The review is spot-on and well written. I just finished my first listen and this is drone, plain and simple. I enjoyed it but with all drone albums, it usually takes me 2-3 listens before I even think of a rating.

Glad you agree and it's not just me that thinks this has a drone quality to it ;]
Dogsbreakfast - 19.03.2012 at 02:19  
Doom, drone, or dribble it is a good album for a good price on Bandcamp and this review lead me to it. I listen to lots and lots of stuff outside the world of metal but I have always found it curious that people find labels and classifications so important in this genre. It seems at times that fans need their music stereotyped. Maybe thats just me because I find those groupings so confusing.
InnerSelf - 19.03.2012 at 11:19  
Written by Dogsbreakfast on 19.03.2012 at 02:19

I listen to lots and lots of stuff outside the world of metal but I have always found it curious that people find labels and classifications so important in this genre. It seems at times that fans need their music stereotyped.



Words of wisdom !
Mr. Doctor - 19.03.2012 at 14:11  
^Big fucking lol at the discussion a couple of posts above me. I personally find it a bit pathetic when people use the grow-up-card when no one has been offensive towards the other.

But oh well, at least the discussion has ended. Monilithe rules, now back on track.
-DC-002- - 20.03.2012 at 05:52  
This is fucking gr8! downloaded it for $5.
Merchant of Doom - 25.03.2012 at 16:56  
This is drone:

!J.O.O.E.! - 25.03.2012 at 17:00  
Written by Merchant of Doom on 25.03.2012 at 16:56

This is drone:

Drone metal possibly with a generous helping of death industrial going by that. It's hard to tell exactly from a live peformance. This and This are examples of death industrial by the way. That video has a sound similar to a death industrial band, but as I say it's not easy to tell. I see guitars so probably is more drone doom. Which by the way is not what I'm saying Monolithe are (as I said in my review), they are not drone doom which is characterised by sustained chords rather than the clusters of sound used on Interlude Second, so your example of drone and Monolithe do no coincide. Drone in other forms does not necessarily use such conventions of drone doom, though it is common in ambient drone and such.

This is doom:



This is not doom:



This is not apocalyptic



I'm calling a spade a spade, and in my experience of drone and doom the recent Monolithe is not doom. Nor is it "apocalyptic progressive doom metal(ish)." I'm using my experience of listening to music to best characterise what I hear. The drums give off a distinct industrial vibe and the music itself revolves around droning soundscapes rather than the riff structure typical to doom, be it traditional, funeral or drone (doom). Regardless of your issues with "doom stereotypes" doom is based on well defined and longstanding set of rules and aside from the doomy-ish vocals I can detect very little, if anything, which lends itself to a doom aesthetic. To me calling this doom is an egregious oversimplification which seems to ignore virtually everything which is happening in the record, instead focusing on superficial elements like vocals and band history.

Here's a quote from Mark Richardson which, while perhaps not aimed at this style exactly, gives a good impression of the feel and approach on this record:

Quote:
The vanishing-point music created by drone elders Phill Niblock and, especially, LaMonte Young is what happens when a fixation on held tones reaches a tipping point. Timbre is reduced to either a single clear instrument or a sine wave, silence disappears completely, and the base-level interaction between small clusters of "pure" tone becomes the music's content. This kind of work takes what typically helps us to distinguish "music" from "sound," discards nearly all of it, and then starts over again from scratch
Troy Killjoy - 25.03.2012 at 17:01  
Written by Merchant of Doom on 25.03.2012 at 16:56
This is drone:

Congratulations on figuring that out.
Merchant of Doom - 25.03.2012 at 19:07  
So, it's not drone, but it's not doom either...
Merchant of Doom - 25.03.2012 at 19:08  
Written by Troy Killjoy on 25.03.2012 at 17:01

Written by Merchant of Doom on 25.03.2012 at 16:56
This is drone:

Congratulations on figuring that out.


at least I can figure things out...
R'Vannith - 26.03.2012 at 13:06  
Wow.. this is something else. Well worded review, it certainly seems alien to me. But that might be because of my unfamiliarity with drone.
IronAngel - 29.05.2012 at 14:12  
I'm reading back on MoD's comments since I saw him talk about them on doom-metal.com so I'm a bit late to this discussion. This album is a pretty good example of the ambigious post-metal category, IMO. Other than atmospheric sludge, it's been used to refer to stuff like Godflesh and even Jesu. There's an industrial vibe, maybe some droning on the guitars (though I wouldn't put it as a primary genre), and I don't really know what else. Mechanized, spacey post-metal. Vocals aside, I'd describe it as "Godflesh meets Blut Aus Nord meets Tool on Mars."
Marcel Hubregtse - 26.10.2012 at 00:29  
Quote:

It's no secret that Blut Aus Nord's masterbrain, Vindsval, has or at least had incorporated Monolithe into his record label Appease Me with promises of featuring himself as a vocal talent on the long awaited Monolithe III (now supposedly being released under Debemur Mortii)


No Vindsval is featured on this 52 minute track which is Monolith III. And, yes, Debemur Morti will release it on November 16
!J.O.O.E.! - 26.10.2012 at 00:40  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 26.10.2012 at 00:29


No Vindsval is featured on this 52 minute track which is Monolith III. And, yes, Debemur Morti will release it on November 16

According to Debemur Mortii he isn't on Monolithe III

It was originally meant to be released on Appease Me though.
Marcel Hubregtse - 26.10.2012 at 00:42  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 26.10.2012 at 00:40

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 26.10.2012 at 00:29


No Vindsval is featured on this 52 minute track which is Monolith III. And, yes, Debemur Morti will release it on November 16

According to Debemur Mortii he isn't on Monolithe III

It was originally meant to be released on Appease Me though.



That's what I am saying

"No Vindsval" so not "No, Vindsval"
!J.O.O.E.! - 26.10.2012 at 00:45  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 26.10.2012 at 00:42

That's what I am saying

"No Vindsval" so not "No, Vindsval"

That's a really awkward way of writing it. That could lead to someone saying "some Vindsval is featured on it." It looked like you were saying "No, Vindsval is not featured on it" just with poor grammar
Marcel Hubregtse - 26.10.2012 at 00:46  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 26.10.2012 at 00:45

That's a really awkward way of writing it. That could lead to someone saying "some Vindsval is featured on it." It looked like you were saying "No, Vindsval is not featured on it" just with poor grammar



I know it's a bit awkward, due to the possible misunderstanding. Especially on a forum.
!J.O.O.E.! - 26.10.2012 at 00:47  
Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 26.10.2012 at 00:46

I know it's a bit awkward, due to the possible misunderstanding. Especially on a forum.

Oh well, we both meant the same thing so no harm done
Mr. Doctor - 26.10.2012 at 01:21  
Written by !J.O.O.E.! on 26.10.2012 at 00:47

Written by Marcel Hubregtse on 26.10.2012 at 00:46

I know it's a bit awkward, due to the possible misunderstanding. Especially on a forum.

Oh well, we both meant the same thing so no harm done


You guys are going soft... I expected murder.
!J.O.O.E.! - 26.10.2012 at 01:24  
Written by Mr. Doctor on 26.10.2012 at 01:21


You guys are going soft... I expected murder.

Nah, with meat-brained morons like Italics lurking around it's best we pool our resources against the genuinely stupid, not each other

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