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Monolithe : Monolithe I

French doom continues its impressive offensive! While there has hardly been a French band of any significance in the traditional doom and early doom/death scene, the contemporary French extreme doom scene has brought forth, in a very short period of time, toppers like Worship, Despond and Ataraxie and I`m quite confident that the name Monolithe shall be added to this list soon.

Monolithe is the side-project of Sylvain Begot, to some perhaps better known as member of the atmospheric metal band Anthemon. His debut album offers, no more no less, a 52-minute long song which is a masterpiece of epic proportions. I'm usually quite sceptical about albums comprised of one single mammoth-track, although it has been proved before that it can work (Skepticism - 'Aes', Sleep - 'Jerusalem'). But what Monolithe manage to create on their debut album, exceeds my expectations!

The track twists and crawls in many directions, undertaking an endless journey through the depths of human emotion. There, it encounters well-hidden epicentres of emotional activity, which generate a plethora of moods; swinging unpredictably, they offer to the listener despair, then again hope, meditative calmness, then again more tension... building up endlessly but eventually going nowhere. This is clearly the work of a skilled doom composer.

The track has a strangely uplifting feel and it consists of predominantly major chords. Although it is full of variety and twists, it succeeds in retaining its identity and essence. This justifies its length, since the listener never gets the impression that he/she is listening to a collection of tracks which are 'super glued' to each other. The twists are smooth, facilitated by the soothing, majestic keyboard layers which accompany them. Some beautiful guitar lines are subtly integrated to the whole, chasing each other in the background while at other times they come more to the foreground, offering temporary distraction from the majestic keyboard layers.

Like most "orchestral" doom bands, Monolith's sound can be characterised as "soft" and emotional. In fact, the only brutal element on this recording is the deep, growled voice courtesy of Richard Loudin from Despond. It is complemented by soft whispers and spoken parts, which add to the whole a more dreamy ambience.

I wouldn't dare to compare this band to any other doomy entity, as it clearly has its own sound and essence. Yet I believe that it would appeal to fans of any emotional and keyboard-laden doom, like f.i. Shape of Despair and Morgion. In either case, for me personally it's one of the atmospheric highlights of the year.

Reviewer's rating: Unrated


Tracklist :
1. Monolithe I

Duration : Approx. 52 minutes

Visit the Monolithe bandpage.

Reviewed on ??-??-???? by Kostas Panagiotou
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