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Monolith - Dystopia

Monolith
Dystopia
by Andrew Sifari at 12 June 2014, 10:16 PM

MONOLITH are a Doom Metal band, formed in 2010 in Bremen, Germany. For those of you who dig early BLACK SABBATH, PENTAGRAM, SLEEP, and similar bands, there’s a lot to like on “Dystopia,” the group’s debut effort for Final Gate Records. Now, I’m generally not a fan of bands whose styles are way too indebted to their inspirations, but I find this easier to overlook when it’s done right. MONOLITH, who draw heavily from the aforementioned groups, do a great job capturing the sound and atmosphere of early Doom Metal with this strong group of songs.

It takes less than a minute through opening track “Won’t Come Down” to gather who the main influence is here. It’s uncanny how much like Ozzy Osbourne Ralf Brummerloh’s voice sounds, complimented by chunky guitar riffs of Ron Osenbrück and Andre Dittman’s jazz-inspired drumming. The lyrics are one of the album’s strongest points. As derivative as the album can sound musically, especially considering Brummerloh’s vocal delivery, it’s hard to dislike the churning, heavy Blues of songs like “Cosmic Fairy,” the gritty, catchy “Hole,” and the sludgy “Acid Rain.” The down-tuned, high-reverb guitars and thick, prominent bass create that kind-of ‘wall of sound’effect associated with this particular style of music, but the instruments aren’t too muddy-sounding to enjoy individually from each other. The feedback/gain isn’t too excessive so as to obscure anything, which is great because each of the band members gives a strong performance throughout “Dystopia.” Osenbrück’s electrifying, wailing leads on songs like “Sleepless Eyes” and the excellent title track are like the icing on top of his heavy riffing, and Brummerloh’s thumping bass fills out the band’s heavy sound very well. “Sleepless Eyes” is another song with some great, dark, bluesy riffing and a ton of attitude, as is the closing jam “Rainbow,” the album’s longest song by far. The track works at a crawling pace, with lengthy, distorted guitar midsection, without sounding like it drags on for too long, and is a fitting track to end the album.

Some people will probably have trouble getting into this album because of how unabashedly BLACK SABBATH it sounds. However, from what I’ve read, the band intended “Dystopia” to be this kind of 70s-sounding record from the onset, and the songs are legitimately good. To me, the fact that one could easily mistake this album for one by BLACK SABBATH says as much about the quality of the music as it does about the similar sound, which the band pulls off without sounding too much like copycats. Besides, they’d hardly be the first Metal band on the planet to owe a debt to the SABBATH in one way or another; theirs is just more obvious than most. “Dystopia” probably won’t win MONOLITH a ton of points for originality, but it’s still a solid album. I’d recommend this to fans of Doom/Stoner Metal, or any kind of heavy Rock in general.

3 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Won’t Come Down
2. Cosmic Fairy
3. Hole
4. Dystopia
5. Acid Rain
6. Sleepless Eyes
7. Rainbow
Lineup:
Ralf Brummerloh - Bass, Vocals
Andre Dittmann - Drums, Backing Vocals
Ron Osenbruck - Guitars
Record Label: Final Gate Records
     


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