Wednesday 4 March 2015

Monolord - Vænir (Album Review)

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 28/04/2015
Label: Riding Easy Records

Vænir DLP/DD track listing

1). Cursing the one
2). We will Burn
3). Nuclear Death
4). Died a million times
5). The Cosmic silence
6). Vænir


With 2014 still visible in your rearview mirror, it wasn’t very long ago that people were compiling their annual best of lists. And justifiably so, towards the top of more than a few, was the fantastic debut album ‘Empress Rising’ from Swedish doom troupe Monolord, bringing HEAVY doom with no bullshit to the forefront of an often oversaturated genre.

Now set to unleash their highly anticipated follow up at the end of April, ‘Vænir’ reflects and amplifies its namesake as Sweden’s largest lake, with a cold and omnipresent example of a goliath distorted doom machine.  This record starts full on with a buzz saw and continues to make you feel like you have been force fed slowly through a giant rusty meat grinder.

Everything about this album is bigger, louder, heavier and more crushing than its predecessor, but all the while being completely melodic at points; melodic in a crushingly sonic destructive kind of way. That being said let us break down this beast.

‘Cursing The One’, which most will have heard already, is full on Monolord doom through and through. Slow, heavy and crushing, the track benefits from haunting vocal effects draped over its colossal structure, it proves a worthy intro to ‘Vænir’ as well as a farewell to ‘Empress Rising’. I really like the tone held within this song and subsequently throughout the rest of the album, its just heavy x10 and puts it all the more in your face,

‘We will Burn’ comes laden with tar thick riffs and something comes to mind with this for me, so allow me to sidestep for a moment. I’m a rather large Electric Wizard fan and one of the things Jus Oborn has said in interviews about his music, is that they make it to sonically disorientate and confuse, well Monolord has apparently taken a cue from this blueprint, because there are passages in this song and indeed the album overall that are so crushingly psychedelic that if you were to have headphones on turned up loud, your likely to forget where the hell you are. Case in point, at around the 4:50 mark, there is a stop in the song and then just this repeating guitar part that reminds me of someone rhythmically playing demolition equipment in a way that would make most death metal bands jealous and most stoner bands envy the groove.

‘Nuclear Death’ serves up some ominous heavy psych doom to your eardrums and ‘Died a Million Times’, just keeps reminding you of the hell you are in, and that you are not going anywhere soon. A nice solemn passage leads you back into being crushed towards the end of the song, echoing “You died a million times” and is yet another example of this bands impeccable onslaught of distortion. Top notch stuff.

‘The Cosmic Silence’ is the shortest song on the record and the one that most reminds me of last years output, kinda quieter, more classical and a nice refrain to briefly catch your breath before album closer ‘Vænir’

‘Vænir’ is a perfect culmination of what has come before it and is the longest most expansive song to date.  For me this is Monolord’s opus of doom, the vocals are less reliant upon effects and further up in the mix, undeniably it feels slightly different but starker than the previous output. I love it, and it gives me a gritty and heavier Solitude Aeturnus vibe. The underlying guitar harmony on this works so perfectly with the weight of the song. it really is spectacular. Haunting reverb filled guitar segments married with tribal drums and a soft thunderstorm; bring a nice touch of peace to the maelstrom you’ve just been willingly hooked on for the past 40 something minutes.  Abruptly the riff comes back and your crushed under the weight of it all again. With that, the tape reel sounds the end of the journey, but ‘my god’ was it completely worth it.
I know a lot of people are looking forward to this release and a lot have already placed it high in their minds without even hearing it. Truth is, this record really is all it is hyped up to be. Now, I don’t like the hype machines and I don’t like bullshit. But with this release you get no bullshit and ultimately ‘Vænir’ completely triumphs.

It is still early in the year, but this is definitely going to be a top five record, if not the number one record of 2015. Upon review of last years ‘Empress Rising’ The Sludgelord wrote ”What did I just fucking listen to? The answer is simple. Your new favourite Doom Band, the name is Monolord.“ . Now with 2015 engulfing us, what you actually just heard was ‘Vænir’by Monolord and it is your new favourite record by your new favourite doom band. For that ‘you’re, most certainly welcome’.

Words by: David Heaton

For more information: