Tuesday 18 February 2014

MONOLORD - Empress Rising - Album Review

Empress Rising final art

Album Type:Album
Date Released: April 2014
Label: EasyRider Records

Empress Rising - track listing:

1 - Empress Rising (12:20)
2 - Audhumbla (7:23)
3 - Harbinger of Death (8:35)
4 - Icon (8:15)
5 - Watchers of The Waste (9:49)


Following on from the premiere of the LP’s title track last December via Roadburn, Sweden’s psychedelic doom band Monolord release their first full length Empress Rising via Easy Rider Records this April. The five-song album clocks in at almost fifty minutes of skull crushing heavy grooves and guitars that summon the spirits of Norse gods when played at volume.

Originally formed as a side project in 2013, Monolord is made up of Swedish rockers Thomas Jäger, Esben Willems and Mika Häkki. Born out of the Swedish boogie band Marulk as a means to make heavier, more psychedelic sounds, founding members Jäger and Willems added Häkki (The Don Darlings, ex-Rotten Sound) to their line-up and realised instantly that they had something very special. Recording commenced in early 2013 and in no time at all the LP was picked up by EasyRider Records, one of the newest and most passionate purveyors of heavy doom, metal and rock’n’roll.

Monolord however is for more than just doom-metal fanatics and this epic record will satisfy all fans of guitar driven rock, stoner and monolithic riffs. With all the flavours of an iconic doom classic Empress Rising follows in the footsteps of Sleep’s Holy Mountain, Pallbearer’s Sorrow and Extinction and Electric Wizard’s Witchcult Today with melodic vocals and harmonies that are as mind bending as they are anthemic.

Already touted by some as one of the year’s most highly anticipated doom debuts this is a shot of pure hellfire, unrestrained from first to last.

The Band Members

Thomas Jäger
Esben Willems
Mika Häkki.


Monolord are a hotly tipped Swedish Trio signed to ace record label Easy Rider Records. Their debut album – Empress Rising – is an album that will see these fuzz loving doomsters go very far indeed as they have delivered a dark and captivating album that captures the vibe from legendary bands such as Black Sabbath, Kyuss, Sleep and Ufomammut. Though the band add huge layers of fuzz to give their music a slightly twisted distorted feel.

First track – Empress Rising – starts with a slow-paced riff before the heavy pounding drums finally kicks the album off in a big way. Fuzzy atmospherics come sweeping in that would make Ufomammut proud before Monolord unleash their blend of heavy epic doom metal riffs upon to the world. The vocals come crashing around you like a spaceship exploding from in space as Monolord unleash their earth-shattering sonic riffs for an epic 12 mins or so. This is the perfect song to open the album with as it shows what Monolord are all about. Intelligent lyrics and epic pounding riffs combining for something truly unforgettable. This is a band on a mission to lay claim in releasing one of the heaviest records of the year.

This band understands on how each member plays as they all play to each other’s strengths. The drums and bass provide the heavy pounding heartbeat of this power unit with lead guitars and vocals providing the intelligence to give Monolord a band with an original style of their own. Monolord add slabs of Space Rock to give their music a truly out of this world cosmic feel and these riff-loving astronauts will take you on a journey you can only possibly imagine.
The album may not change styles over the 4 remaining tracks but who cares as Monolord have already laid there template for musical greatness in the opening 12 minutes of Empress Rising. Now it is time for you to witness Monolord in full flight for the next 35 minutes.

Second track – Audhumbla – takes you on another musical odyssey that will leave you breathless at times as Monolord include a wide range of atmospherics of emotion that will have you hooked. May The Fuzz Be with You on this track, as it is a blistering ride into the cosmos.

Third track – Harbinger Of Death– features the band opening with a classic style Desert Rock/Stoner Metal riff before matching it with their own blend of heavy monolithic cosmic doom metal. Your speakers will be getting an audio workout by this stage of the album, as Monolord do not let up with the heavy fuzz based volumes they are currently laying down.

Monolord blend Doom Metal, Stoner Metal, and Space Rock to hypnotic and beautifully heavy pounding effect. It is an album where all of the tracks are equally great as each other. I cannot pick out a favourite, as they are all stunning in equal measure. If you loved Ufomammut’s classic two-part album – ORO – then Empress Rising is the album for you.
The last two tracks – Icon and Watchers Of The Waste – in my opinion push this album into Album Of The Year territory and possibly even into the realm of classic status. As Monolord have delivered a truly outstanding debut album that will leave you in a constant state of shock and asking the following question.

What did I just fucking listen to?

The answer is simple. Your favourite new Doom Metal Band. The name is MONOLORD. Empress Rising is going to be one of 2014’s landmark Doom Metal Debut albums. Ignore this if you dare.

Thanks to Richard Jones at Sheltered Life PR and Easy Rider Records for sending us a promo to review. Empress Rising will be available to buy on CD/DD/Cassette Tape/Vinyl from EasyRider Records from April 2014.

Written by Steve Howe

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