I was never a fan of funeral doom metal, often finding the genre a little bit too slow, and a little bit too heavy for my liking. Bands like Bell Witch and the likes were raved about both by friends and online media, yet they hardly managed to retain my attention. On the other hand, Monolithe stood to be the exception to this rule, having already encountered their brand of doom metal over the last few years.
The one thing that I always remembered about Monolithe was how their releases tended to be structured as 3 15-minute tracks, though the music of course played a huge role in retaining my memory of the band. Nebula Septem takes a slightly different structure in terms of arrangement, and the band on their seventh releases has put in 7 tracks, each 7-minute long into this album, featuring 7 members, yada yada. You get the idea. Pretty consistent in their marketing thus far, but would the quality of their music remain consistent?
The mid-paced riff of Sylvain and Benoit that greets one on Anechoic Aberration threw me a little off guard, being already used to the pace that other Monolithe tracks have taken form thus far. Yet it is rather refreshing to hear this, as the band manages to retain that groovy touch that featured so strongly in their material. The riffs are heavy as hell, but are often pierced through by depressing, or melancholic-sounding lead guitars that seem to be a constant theme on Nebula Septem. Probably the only comparison that I can draw would be to the emotional death/doom of bands like Draconian, especially with Sebastien’s hate-drenched vocals. Monolithe also doesn’t shy away from the gratuitous incorporation of synths of Sebastien, which alternate between adding a beautiful ambient, or drenching the music with a gloomy, haunting atmosphere.
With a larger number of tracks now as well, the band has the capacity to really explore different styles with their songwriting. While the foundation of the band remains doomy and gloomy, there is certainly an increased variety of elements that the band has added into their repertoire. Engineering the Rip for instance is injected with some psychedelic elements with the keyboards of Sebastien, and the riffs that the band has written even gives off some Finnish death metal vibe a la Demilich or Adramelech.
To top off, the production is heavy as fuck. Throughout the album one is enveloped by the wall of sound that is created by the band, with the mix of each of the different instruments in a perfect balance – be it the relentless riffs of the guitars, or that air of mystery created by the synths.
I really have no idea what makes Monolithe a band that is so entrancing, yet with every listen new discoveries are made, making each new listen an entirely different experience. If there is one heavy record to start your journey into darker doom metal, Nebula Septem should definitely make it to your consideration list.