Behold! The Monolith [USA]
Architects of the Void
Architects of the Void may be American stoner/doom metal outfit Behold! The Monolith‘s third full length release to date, yet it is only on this album that I finally encounter the band. Initially expecting a thrash record with the band’s futuristic, thrash-inspired logo (think Havok, Bonded by Blood et. al), Behold! The Monolith instead presents a crushing and heavy tone on Architects of the Void, and the band couldn’t be further from the first impression one may get from the visual aesthetics.
Behold! The Monolith is relentless in their aural assault. From the opening riffs of Umbral Vale, the band ensures that the listener is constantly buried beneath a huge wall of sound. Throughout Architects of the Void, one finds himself gasping for breath with the ominous and suffocating atmosphere that the band conjures. The growls of Jordan at the background on the first couple of tracks especially on Philosopher’s Blade, coupled with the entire darkness that surrounds the listener, the doom pace and the dissonance provided by guitarist Matt, reminds one of the works of black/death metal bands such as Antediluvian or Bestial Raids, if only with more desolation and desperation infused. The tension in the air on The Mithriditist even brings in some black metal elements, adding to the already haunting mood on the album.
At the same time, Behold! The Monolith does not abandon their stoner/doom metal roots as well. As the record progresses, the influences from doom and stoner pioneers such as Black Sabbath and Sleep become clear, what with the generous dosage of feedbacks on the guitar and the overall doom pace that the band takes. The aggression on Lord of Bones also reminds one of the works of High on Fire.
The songwriting on the album is stellar, with the band not shying away from experimenting and pushing the boundaries of their creativity. Tracks such as Philosopher’s Blade incorporate sudden shifts in pace, throwing the listener off-guard yet remaining coherent and groovy as fuck without losing any of their momentum or focus.
With the increasing spotlight on the whole stoner/doom/psychedelic rock and metal subgenres, it has become incredibly difficult to sieve out bands that deserve the attention from those who are simply jumping on the bandwagon. But it is bands like Behold! The Monolith with excellent records like Architects of the Void that help to ensure that things do not become too dry in this increasingly popular style.
1. Umbral Vale
2. Philosopher’s Blade
3. The Mithriditist
4. Lord of Bones
5. Black Days Of
6. Between Oder and the Vistula
7. Architects of the Void
Favourite picks: Philosopher’s Blade, Lord of Bones