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A Fall Into Death and Life at the Same Time - 95%

aforestopera, December 29th, 2014

Monolithe comes through with an album so majestic in size it can only hold one song, and for good reasons! Nothing stand in the way of this momentous album with a track that nears an hour long. This doom track manages to hold its epic tone for the duration of it's 52 minutes span of existence. For someone who actively seeks out epic songs (songs 15 minutes and longer), I have indulged myself fully in this track, and came out of the experience pleasantly surprised.

I feel that the enjoyability of this album resounds in its tone and feel as well as the drone of the guitars. You will find recognizable melodies, despite how slowly they may be played, but they won't overstay their welcome. The sounds themselves aim for an overall atmospheric experience and relies heavily on it's background fuzz and sounds to convey a sense of immensity, wideness and overwhelming presence. Reading into the lyrics you find the story of this monolith and it's presence in life. I feel like a track like this could have been used in an updated version of 2001, A Space Odyssey, because truly demand to be taken for what it is. A magnificent relic of epic power.

Regarding the composition itself, the track does contain many subparts to its whole. Themes that sound like they would be part of the "chorus" or the "verse" of the song, if this song operated under those guidelines. The song makes use of all it's instruments and balances them all very well. There are short moments every now and then were one instrument gets it small share of the spotlight. The programmed drums, though not detriment to the album, might sway people away from this album because of the lack of the "raw" drum sounds. I personally think they still manage to incorporate the programmed drums into the song and stitch it all together sonically in a well produced manner.

All in all, I am looking forward to listening to everything this band has to offer in terms of sounds and philosophy. Because, in the end, what this band is trying to accomplish seems like the beginning of something grander, and something that can only be appreciated when combine in full narrative of the story. Looking forward to the complete experience. Definitely look into this funeral doom metal album, it's worth the length.

Not Destruction...but Creation - 93%

Wilytank, October 15th, 2011

(Originally posted by me to the Metal Music Archives: http://www.metalmusicarchives.com/)

After going through several classic funeral doom metal albums, it's sort of a new experience going back into the embrace of more fine production even though it was the avenue that I used to get into the genre in the first place. So why Monolithe? Well, let's just say that as a person who adores long songs, a 52 minute piece of funeral doom should be right up my alley.

As I start the music, I realize that there's even more. The first notes played are of a piano, but they are not sorrowful sounding like I'm used to experiencing in funeral doom. The music isn't dark at all even when the rest of the instruments come in. In fact, the atmosphere is light sounding! Though with the lyrics about being the origin of mankind, the atmosphere is kinda fitting. It feels as if I'm staring into a portal of infinite light in the middle of a wasteland. Kinda like what's on the album art. Monolithe I is, for once, a funeral doom album that would be just as fitting if listened to during the daytime as it would in the nighttime if not MORE fitting!

There are plenty of variations to be had in the music. Though the tempo stays mostly the same with a steady drum beat, the keyboards play a large role on the "staring into a portal of infinite light" aspect of the music here. Time from time, one of the guitars takes a prominent position. There are even parts where the guitars tone themselves down to allow even calmer parts of the music to come in. Vocal wise, the standard low growls of funeral doom are present, but in the calmer parts of the music, there may be clear spoken word verses spoken. Actually, the musical pauses aren't limited to the guitars. At 18 minute mark, the drums stop and the guitars play some leading notes with the keyboard there to back them up. The guitars keep playing this rhythm as the rest of the instruments continue. At the 28:13 minute mark, the pace changes the most notably with the key changing a bit as well before returning to the same key and pace. As the thirty minute mark comes and goes, the guitars go into a faster chugging rhythm and build up this rhythm for about three minutes until lone piano notes break it up to return to the normal pace with lead notes. The chugging returns around the 38 mark, but with lead guitar to provide some layering. The lead continues when the chugging guitar returns to normal.

At the end of this journey into creation, I look back and see this wonderful funeral doom album by a promising funeral doom band. Its tone is rather unorthodox for the genre, but that's a good thing for funeral doom. If you're a fan of the genre and have 52 minutes to spare in your day, this album/song should be looked into.

Monolithic, indeed - 80%

Sean16, January 9th, 2006

It is almost an impossible task to judge this album by usual criteria. Monolithe I belongs to this little and fascinating world of extreme doom metal where one song has to last more than forty minutes to be taken seriously. Exactly, this album is made of only one fifty-two minutes long song, which can’t be separated into several different tracks at all, keeping the same unity from the beginning to the end. And this might be the first positive point of this “album”: these guys managed to record such a monster without EVER sounding incoherent.

Though all this is very, very slow, we are not dealing with sadness or depression here, Monolithe I being something entirely different. Massive and, yes, monolithic, would be the word. This is in no way minimalist, indeed, Monolithe music is rich, very rich. Crushing, oppressive, almost suffocative, it is built on a loud bass and down-tuned guitars wall of sound - not less than three guitars are sometimes used together – on which are added piano or keyboard parts - and, of course, the vocals. Those might be the most impressive part of the music - low, low caveman growls, reinforced by a slight echo, seeming to directly come from the core of the Earth: indeed, these guys are really dealing with origin of mankind, as they pretend to be! In addition of these are some muttered, whispered or spoken parts – it is a bit hard to tell exactly what they are - which, while good, are far from being as astonishing as the growled parts.

The drum machine was almost unnecessary. Instruments alone manage to create such an heavy atmosphere! However, to lighten it a bit, certainly to prevent the listener from dying of suffocation before the end of this monument, a few piano-only or soloing parts have been added from time to time, and the song even speeds up after 30’00, for an instrumental part far closer from a standard metal tune, a very nice improvement which prevents the track from becoming boring. But, right after 33’00, the pace suddenly slows down and, after a short piano interlude, the guitar wall falls again, more crushing as it had ever been until there. Plaintive leads enter the stage only to prepare the place for these deep breath-taking growls we were missing so much. The song goes on and on like that, alternating heavy parts with more melodic ones where the piano takes the foreground, until the conclusion where the pace slows down more and more – fastens once again for thirty seconds – then abruptly ends up with one minute of some unspeakable electronic noise - and eventually the listener falls back in the real world, suddenly wondering: what has exactly happened during these 52 minutes?

But now if you ask me the question – YES, IT COULD HAVE BEEN SHORTER. It could easily have been shortened of around ten minutes, a 40 minutes long song would have already been a more than epic track, while some parts of the actual song sound a bit empty. It never becomes really boring but the fact is, this sounds slightly repetitive from time to time, before the more inspired parts begin again. A pity, because the whole song is overall truly fascinating, and indeed the end is, as well as the sumptuous first ten minutes, the best part. One may also wonder why the band punctually used some rain, wind or thunder samples, which add nothing at all, while the music already spoke for itself - fortunately there are few of them.

Finally, despite these minor flaws, for those who are into this genre I can only recommend this strange journey that Monolithe I is. However if you’re looking for catchy tunes, you’d better stay away... but you’ll never know the experience you’ve been missing.

MONOLITHE IS GOD - 100%

WIndrider, December 15th, 2003

When someone plays a single instrument, the power it conveys is limited. One instrument can only go so far because it inherently lacks the complexity which the average mind desires. Yet when instruments combine something magical happens. If done correctly a force can be created, which gesture reaches into the very bowls of the soul, and transcends the act of a mere creator-observer dichotomy. This eclipse, a catharsis if you will, is by no means simply an incorporation of several musical conjunctions. No it is the result an additional factor of brilliance, when every purveyor of the instrument, understands their purpose, as well as the others.
Monolithe extol this reality, their musical authority, transcends that of music, and becomes an experience. The second one puts on monolithe a mist evokes the senses, mundane thoughts perish, as they are physically destroyed by it’s “monolithic” presence. This behemoth pervades with grace, flowing seamlessly like the ethereal cloud which shrouds it. One becomes entangled in the fog and suddenly time becomes invalid. This song could be 5 minutes or two hours, it would not matter, because monolithe is an experience, not a mere listen.
The fact that monlithe is one 51 minute song only adds to the utmost respect that I adorn for the creators of this incarnation. How someone can create such an essence and truly make it last for every fraction of a second is beyond me. The second monolithe slow sullen essence churns, one knows. With monolithe you will find no virtousic solo’s, no thrashing drum leads. No, all one find with monolithe is something which works, better than 99% of all music out there. The growls, the keys, the guitar, they are all one.
Monolithe’s quest is to explore the origin of humanity and this exposition is done flawlessly. Monolithe offer answers, because they are the answer. Monolithe shows the power of the human potential, in addition to innately human ability of create divinity out of nothing. Like the very rare elite of metal, Monolithe are transcendental, and their quest, their prophecy, their experience will withstand the test of time.
For those looking for a concrete definition of monolithe, one could cling to an identity such as funeral doom. Yet monolithe are far more than just this identification, and therefore inherently defy any labeling. Monolithe is pure musical gold, whose ambience, vision, clarity, and sound resonates to anyone in a similar metal frame. All I can ask is to truly give Monolithe a try. They may not be “brutal”, hell they may not even be “metal”, but they are brilliant, and that is all I could ask for.
MONOLITHE IS GOD= ALBUM OF THE YEAR. And trust me folks I listen to a lot of fucking metal!