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Monumentum Damnati – In The Tomb Of A Forgotten King Award winner

Monumentum Damnati
In The Tomb Of A Forgotten King
by Justin "Witty City' Wittenmeier at 16 February 2020, 7:17 AM

MONUMENTUM DAMNATI is a Melodic Death/Doom band; they are an international project whose leaders are based in Eastern Europe.  The album opens with the intro, “The Shining.”  I’m not sure if that is in reference to the movie or book but it might as well be as it is appropriately spooky and foreboding.  The keys and guitar perfectly meld into one swift movement and the drums keep it moving perceptually forward until the cascading keys of the next track arrive.

Athame's keyboards on this album are truly amazing because they do more than just add a basic symphonic atmosphere.  Often times, they provide a harrowing landscape to the Metal—in the form of tones that sound like they came straight out of a horror movie film score or by displaying cathedral like Gothic touches that are a stark landscape. The first proper full length song is “My Bloody JJ,” and it introduces all the elements of the album in a speculator fashion.  Those aforementioned keys immediately set the mood and make way for the well toned guitar riffs, which are thick, heavy, and complete with a huge sound.

Thanatos' vocals are a low Death growl but the inflection in which he speaks the lyrics allows the words to be intelligible.  They somewhat remind me of DAYLIGHT DIES—monstrous but tortured Death growls with just enough sorrow behind them that Doom requires without going overly dramatic. I am really impressed how well the different elements of the music play off each other.  The band is really sharp on how to take different elements from the instruments and use to them to build up the songs.   On, “My Bloody JJ,” the keys and vocals are even more effective because they work together with full effect. Likewise, around the 1:53 mark, the melodic guitar works so well, in part, because of the keys that compliment the atmosphere and let the guitar shine through.

The vocals at the 1:26 mark in the third track, “There’s No Place For Life,” are boosted by a wonderfully melodic guitar solo.  Not long after, the trampling double bass is accented by light touches of clean keys.  NYARLATHOTEP’s performance the song, and the album as a whole, is solid enough on its own but I can tell he focuses on playing the drums to improve the songs, instead of just battering his way through it for the sake of being heavy.

For the title track, “In The Tomb Of A Forgotten King,” the band turns up the intensity.  The main riff is heavy as fallen rubble and even has some groove backing it, for ultimate headbanging moments.  The track switches moods several times, going from these brutal moments to passages of Gothic movements.   Abhoth's bass is the MVP on this track, allowing the melodic parts to breathe, the Gothic touches to stand out, and of course, the heavier parts all the better.

One of my favorite tracks on the album is “Falling Snow.”  The music conjured images in my mind of a frozen, barren wasteland where the only guarantee is the lost of hope as the snow and ice continues its torrential assault.   They use the music to spark such an imaginative scenario, the guitar solos and harmonies especially. Any music that make images like that just appear in mind is powerful and full of emotion—something this band and album is no short supply of. Rapsidis and Shoggoth know how to use the guitar as a tool to make the other instruments work for them and the song itself.

The final track, “Exorcist,” is the perfect swansong and ending for the album.  As an instrumental, a very lush one at that, it brings the album full circle back to the intro.  The song is rather moving yet retains those heavy Doom and Gothic tones that keep in within the same stylistic theme as the songs before it. How fitting that I have reviewed this album in the middle of the winter as it helps compliment nature’s cold atmosphere yet contains enough detailed moments of melody and Doom.  If you are a fan of Gothic, Melodic Death, Symphonic, or Doom Metal, “In The Tomb Of A Forgotten King,” is a must have album.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. The Shining
2. My Bloody JJ
3. There’s No Place For Life
4. Anabiosis
5. In The Tomb of a Forgotten King
6. Infernal Sun
7. Falling Snow
8. Sleepless Anger
9. Exorcist
Abhoth – Bass, Music, and lyrics
Thanatos – Vocals
Shoggoth – Guitars
Rapsidis – Guitars
Athame – Keyboards
Nyarlathotep - Drums
Record Label: End of Time Records


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