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Holy raving reviews, Batman! An obscure funeral doom metal band with six raving reviews with an average of over 90% for a tape demo limited to 50 copies - this needs to be nothing but extremely good music.
Well, is it?
No. Hold your horses before you get this one like I did.
Despite the favorable reviews, no doubt written and posted by little friends of the Monads-posse, “Intellectus Iudicat Veritatem” (trying to sound intellectual, are we?) is no mind blowing release. We’ve heard doom metal like this millions of times before since the nineties – and frankly, we’ve heard it better than it. The opening track “The Stars are Screaming” shifts back and forth between all imaginable doom metal clichés, between boring and uninspired 60 BPM 4/4 crash cymbal drum rhythms with bland power chords and the usual clean plucking patterns with lead guitars sustaining root notes a couple of octaves higher. The compositions and the musical execution of these ideas is very bland. Needless to say, this is not exactly helping the cause of these Monads. All riffs and tempos on this demo are interchangeable and not one fragment sticks. As another clean arpeggio is “surprisingly” ended by distorted guitars coming in together with growling vocals, I can’t help but see the discrepancy between knowing how to copy well and how to be an innovator.
Soundwise, “Intellectus Iudicat Veritatem” actually sounds good for a demo. The drums need lots more work alright in order to get rid of the cardboard feel of the snare and toms and the plastic sound of the cymbals. The clean and distorted guitar tones are really okay.
So does funeral doom need to be original to be enjoyed? No, of course not. The simple truth is I’d rather spin Evokens “Quietus” or “Antithesis of Light” than this clone “Intellectus Iudicat Veritatem”. In my book, the Monads have a long way to go before they can be considered the funeral doom metal geniuses they apparently would like to be.
As a fan of underground music, you usually keep on exploring for new bands, new releases, new quality. And once in a while it happens. You stumble across something worth it, something REALLY worth it.
I discovered Monads on this very website, Metal Archives. I saw the band popping up under the 'similar artists' tab with bands I really enjoy, like Esoteric, Evoken and Mournful Congregation. I'd seen the name before and when I saw it again, it made me curious. I checked out the band's facebook page and listened to the two songs available for stream on that page. Though I immediately loved them, I wanted to hear the entire demo before passing judgement. So, after mailing the band and finding that their demo sold out after only 6 days (!), they offered the mp3's to me. After a couple of weeks of listening, I had to write down some words about this magnificent piece of art.
If I loved the two tracks on their facebook page, then the complete demo totally blew me away. It is overwhelming. It's hard for me to believe that a new band recording a first demo can deliver such a perfect result. Moreover, I don't understand why they called this a demo. This so called demo is better than what most doom bands dare to call their debut album, or even second, third album! So what does it offer? The demo starts off with a track called The Stars are Screaming. The beginning is slow and harsh, and takes a while to hit it off. I see why the band chose this as an opening song, as it slowly takes you deeper and deeper into the experience of this demo. Very slowly, it gets harsher into a heavy headbanging passage that reminds of classic doom. Then, the song completely drops into a clean passage, flowing into a wonderfully melancholic second half and ending of the song. In this first song of the demo, Monads show us what they're capable of in regard to putting emotions into music. This stuff totally drags you down.
Broken Gates to Nowhere starts with a simple yet heavy four chord riff, and over here the first thing to be noticed are the vocals. Other than the usual grunts in death/doom or blackish screams in funeral doom, this vocalist uses his voice to the extreme. I have a feeling this guy has a very versatile voice and can do almost everything with it. This also shows later in the demo, especially in the last song, where he goes from low grunts into waning-like desperate screams. In this song, though, the simple yet effective structure of the first half of the song shows his effect on the music, and what an effect that is. The vocalist is shut up for the second part of the song, which is more post-rock than doom metal. Yes, you're reading it correctly. Does this sound strange and out of place? No, it's something the band can pull off, and I have no idea how. It sounds perfect, the transition is perfect and the effect is once more: dragging you all the way down into an abyss of doom, drowning in your darkest emotions.
On to the shortest song on the demo, and my personal favorite. Within the Circle of Seraphs is what I'd call the epitome of doom with balls. Forget romantic death/doom, forget funeral doom with corpse painted band pictures, forget depressive black/doom. This is the shit. Doom should be emotional yet has to be able to knock you over with (passive) agression. This is it.
Furthermore on the demo, we have The Obsolete Presence, which once again shows some amazing non-conventional riffs and a great lead in the end. And to close, Absent as in These Veins is a little slower and a bit more melodic. Though really good, this song has one riff that I don't like much, which starts on 3'02 and gets repeated some time after. It's the only riff on the album that doesn't seem to fit. But, the ending of the song makes up for this in an epic way. Overall, the last song is my least favorite, but still cannot destroy this demo in any way. Intellectus Iudicat Veritatem is not perfect, but it's damn fucking close. Fans of Esoteric, Mournful Congregation, Evoken, Ahab, Loss: check this out and keep your eyes on this band. I expect great things from them in the future. Matter of fact: any doom fan should check this out, as this demo will probably be something better than most of your collection. I'm not overreacting, I really don't think I am. These guys are master in the emotions they translate into their music. I can't emphasize this enough.
I hope this gem will be re-released on CD and hopefully on vinyl as well, as this would really do the sound justice. So, all those labels out there pretending to offer new bands a chance, contact these guys. You won't regret it. Recommended, recommended, recommended. Fucking recommended.
Sometimes it is difficult to understand what leads us to write about someone or something. In music, the scenario is similar. Moreover, over the past years we have been confronted with an unfathomable amount of new releases coming out in waterfalls weekly or monthly, some of them with recognizable quality, and so our attention is focused there, forgetting everything around us, if even for a few hours.
The Belgian Monads captured our attention with their debut demo, 'Intellectus Iudicat Veritatem'. Consisting of five long songs that are left to wander amid the doom/death and funeral doom with a musical force and brutality disarmingly able to sweep a landscape and leave it in the deepest agony and inhospitable darkness. A good example is the opening theme called 'The Stars Are Screaming' where we face, after a few seconds with this reality, a mix of Evoken, Mournful Congregation, and Esoteric. Beyond this devastating side, there are moments of greater calm where we are provided some time to breathe. 'Broken Gates To Nowhere' is proof of that, where a slow growing and sweetly-colored palette theme extends to lighter shades and mildness in a very similar tune of some post-rock Explosions In The Sky and disdain that they do not embrace that, of course, end in a finale that brings together all these aspects, giving it a certain aura of epicness, I dare say. Or the passage in 'Absent As In These Veins' that ends in a final austere, hard, breathtaking part that makes us dizzy and when recomposed of the hustle, the first thing that occurs is to press the play button again.
While we are treading ground already well-known and widely-exploited over the last few years, we have to admit that this is a debut work fairly consistent and cohesive with good songs that sound blacker than any shadow.
Originally written for Temple of Doom Metal
I believe that everything happens for a reason. The whole set of events which takes place in our lives every day, is the accumulation of big, or even the small decisions, we have to take every day during our lifetime. It's that whole concept of unity that puts us right where we are today. And today i bring you a band that i believe it crossed my path for a very good reason.
Monads are a belgium funeral doom band that started their path in the beginning of 2011, as told to me by one of the members of the band, to whom i appreciate the attention and kindness that made this review possible, the name Monads is derived from the philosophical "monad", and this term is used to describe the idea of a person as a focal point of consciousness within a sea of greater consciousness, and it is believed that all things that can be considered a unity unto themselves constitute a monad as well. Confused? I'll try to give you an example: the sound of breaking waves on the beach is a perception composed of individual drops of water (minuscule perceptions). We consciously perceive not every single drop of water, however, when the droplets come together in a sufficient amount, they produce a perception: the sound of breaking waves.
That's exactly what Monads, this "pentad", have created with "Intellectus Iudicat Veritatem". With their music they have created an overwhelming perception of this multiplicity of feelings and emotions that lie in every note, flooding our ears and filling our soul with great music. "Intellectus Iudicat Veritatem", latin for "Intellect judges over truth", materializes this whole concept brought to you by Monads. The cover of the demo illustrates a snake circling a cross, and the interpretation of it is that only perfection can bridge the gap between that which is temporal, causal and infinite. "Intellectus Iudicat Veritatem" consists in 5 massive and crushing tracks, blending classic funeral doom elements with some modern doom and the result is quite majestic and overwhelming. The demo begins with "The Stars Are Screaming" and what starts as a dark and monolithic track soon evolves, just when we thought that was impossible within the track, into a more grieve-full but amazingly beautiful track. And this is just the first example of what is about to follow: a perambulation into deep, dark and desolate valleys, inhabited by colossal riffs that exhale sorrow and grief on every single note. I love to death all tracks but my favorite is "Absent as in these Veins", a track that with its simplicity, sweeps us high and suddenly brings us to fall on our knees. The passages through the heaviness and melody are perfect and flawless. Monads know exactly and have meticulously studied, the effect of every note on this essay.
It's been quite a while since i've heard some well played funeral doom. And to be honest, this demo doesn't even sound like a demo at all. Fans of Mournful Congregation, Esoteric, Aldebaran, Ocean, Ataraxie, beware. Monads did an amazing work creating, through every single note, their own perception, that fills, in a majestic way, our senses and our soul. Head dive into the dark waters of "Intellectus Iudicat Veritatem" and let yourself drown in it... slowly. Epic. Highly Recommended.
Some bands put out one, two, maybe four tracks for a demo that usually don't last that long, length- wise. On Monads' first outing they give us nearly an hour's sample of their music. This is far more than a demo. This is as close to a full-length as you'll get, minus the title.
This slab of doom is monumental, by far one of the best recordings I've heard from a band on their first release. Straight out of the first riff you can tell Monads means business. Their riffs are a heavy, dark rumbling that permeates to the core of our senses. It crawls like a one-armed zombie, constantly grabbing you and pulling you down while growling. They're just trying to get into your brain, and I will gladly let them. Intellectus Iudicat Veritatem is sorrowful and at times you can feel the emanating anguish.
The low-end carries the album along in a steady thunder. They keep the album nice and lumbering throughout with the exception of a short burst of aggressive black metal towards the last couple minutes of the album. It comes out rather unexpectedly, but the impact is strong and turbulent. This is definitely an album worth its gargantuan weight. I highly recommend it to anyone who is a fan of doom or just anything that's heavier than gravity.
Monads. Took their name from the awesome band MOURNFUL CONGREGATION’s album “The Monad of Creation”, so you know what to expect: DOOM. But what doom? Monads is Funeral. Monads is Death. Monads is Doom. But Monads is also melodic in some parts. And it is, from afar, THE doom album (though it’s a demo) of 2011. Beyond the last Mournful Congregation or the last Comatose Vigil releases, yes.
Five tracks and more than 50minutes of primal old school funeral doom. Starting with “The Stars are Screaming”, we’re already drowned in those slow tempos and death growls, but Monads varies its music with faster tempos from time to time with all the variations you need on the vocals & drums so as not to be boring. You’ve gotta notice the “second” part of this track, which is simply the most melancholic, gut-ripping part to begin with. Melodies are coming slowly with clean guitars, whispered voices, and then it all happens; lights on, burning eyes, the stars are screaming, and you shiver. All. Your. Body. Shivers.
The other tracks aren’t below this one, either. Each one of them has its own story to tell. For example, “Broken Gates” is the most “old school”, try if I may say this, so the mood is really unique. And the last track contains two endings: a slight post-rock one and one old school extreme metal one (you know the old Goatlord albums where they mix black/thrash/death/doom at the same time? That’s like it). Just to know this.
Monads is now the Belgian doom black flame high in the sky.