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*facepsalm* - 53%

zeingard, June 27th, 2015

For some people, the almighty "heavy riff" is the alpha and omega of their heavy metal scripture; they make their pilgrimage daily in search of the next amplifier to worship. There's something so simple but earnest about their approach to not only seeking out but ingesting music. Unfortunately their advice does not translate well onto people outside of their congregation. This of course will not stop them from taking you aside to talk about their Monolord and saviour, 'Vaenir'.

If the obnoxiously snarky tone of the opening paragraph didn't tip you off, 'Vaenir' is not a particularly good album and you may have suffered severe head trauma or spent too long standing downwind of a diesel exhaust. The guys of Monolord obviously have a clear image in mind for their sound, where they find a haunting middle ground between pyschedelia and doom metal: a monolithic cavern where every sound echoes out unimpeded, endless.

'Vaenir' falls short of this goal and ultimately comes off a rather tired and dull affair, as the every song just feels so monotonous, repetitive and ironically enough, too slow. To say that about a stoner/doom band comes off as completely fatuous but Monolord have trouble with consistently finding a comfortable balance between good riffs and dynamic pacing. Their songs feel like they're one riff, solo or tempo change away from being so much more interesting.

Take "We Will Burn" a solid seven minute song with maybe three riffs, all of which cover a broad range of styles within the genre and transition from one to the other perfectly, particularly the one at 5:10 which is absolutely savage. From that point they just ride that admittedly fantastic riff right to the end of the song without really using that to go anywhere else, just letting the song essentially peter out. The first half, which sounds like a decent Electric Wizard emulation, can only really be validated with the success of the latter half which initially it is but the band never capitalise on that pacing and tonal shift.

The first three songs of 'Vaenir' are defined by this inability to realise the next piece of the puzzle with their songwriting, while the latter half is mono-dimensional, forgettable garbage. Excluding 'The Cosmic Silence', the forgettable interlude track that no one except maybe the band will ever care about, 'Died a Million Times' and the title cut are painfully long and boring. They are over ten minutes long and are just as interesting and exciting as you would expect from a band who can barely keep your attention for six.

If you haven't listened to 'Vaenir' then you probably aren't the type of person mentioned in the opening paragraph and won't gain anything from investing your time into it.