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Monarque. - 94%

Perplexed_Sjel, December 6th, 2007

Monarque have received no attention on Metal Archives in terms of reviews, which I find quite scandalous, therefore I have stepped in to fill the void. Much to my annoyance, Monarque are like a number of excellent black metal acts who have emerged over recent years. Since 2003, up until late, they had only released one piece of material and that was a short demo. Much to my delight however, this short demo turned out to be one of the best black metal productions i've heard in quite some time. Monarque are continuing the trend of Canadian black metal bands that have seemingly appeared from out of nowhere to astonish the fanbase they have acquired.

Monarque don't appear to be very well known and on the basis of this demo, 'Ad Nauseam', i'm struggling to work out just why that is exactly. Canada is a place a lot of black metal fans tend to explore if they're looking for new talents because over the years, it has thrown up some delicious slices of black metal pie and let's face it, everyone likes pie. I would consider Monarque to be what I refer to as, 'straight up hellish black metal'. There appears to be a touch of depressive black metal to them, but lumping this fabulous Canadian act into sub-genre after sub-genre isn't what i'm here to do. I aim to promote the band and their music because it's to my liking. However, some background information on the music is necessary, as are links to certain genres this could be verified as and the depressive sub-genre is one of them. It would appear to work in accordance of the bands lyrical themes as depression is one of them.

But that's what makes Monarque so appealing. The ability to fuse all kinds of black metal into one hellish noise from the abyss. Monarque use a few techniques in order to do gain this tag. First, we have those tormented rasping vocals. They're not exactly original, but when they fit perfectly into an atmosphere, boy, you love them. In terms of portraying the lyrical themes, they do that well enough without even laying eyes on those lyrics. The vocals are so twisted, that you could work out what Monarque are all about simply by analysing them alone. Death, destruction and misanthropy are among the top traits that Monarque adhere to. The instrumental section of Monarque is absolutely brilliant in displaying these lyrical themes in a distinctively fresh manner.

The music is expectedly distorted. We wouldn't have it any other way. The lead guitar is where the majority of Monarque's sound comes from, as well as through the vocals. These two elements tend to take precedence and rightly so. They offer the most impact upon the audience, so why not give them priority? Well, Monarque do so and to great effect. The use of synths cannot be overlooked though. The synths act as a backup to the two pivotal areas of Monarque. They act as a mesmerising sound which has a tendency to swirl around in the atmosphere, lingering over the audience like a cloud of lightning and thunder, ready to strike as loud as possible.

Bass is a bit disappointing. In terms of the down tuned feel, Monarque get that across well, but the actual bass is lost in distortion largely. This doesn't necessarily detract from 'Ad Nauseam' because the music is just as loveable without the bass. I'm yet to hear the debut full-length, but given this demo, i'm hoping it will be up there as one of the best albums this year, perhaps within the last decade. A lot of hope is going into it. Highlights; Ces Immondices..., Mes Blessures and La Vallée Des Larmes are amazing. Particularly that last song.