(Copyright © 2020 Piero Scaruffi | Terms of Use )
Empress Rising (2014), 5.5/10
Vaenir (2015), 5/10
Rust (2017), 5/10
No Comfort (2019), 4/10

Swedish trio Monolord, i.e. Thomas Jaeger (guitar, vocals), Esben Willems (drums) and Mika Hakki (bass), debuted in the vein of Black Sabbath-esque doom-metal. Empress Rising (2014) was their manifesto. If the ten-minute Watchers of the Waste is too repetitive, the repetition manages to be hypnotic in the stately eight-minute Icon, with a religious-like invocation in the middle, and in the 12-minute Empress Rising the throaty singer intones a classic-sounding melody, although as derivative as it gets for those who heard Electric Wizard.

Vaenir (2015) lacks the friendly melodies of the predecessor and invest more in atmosphere and guitar distortion. The nine-minute Cursing the One is a timid cousin of Empress Rising, but has a powerful surge six minutes into the piece. The ten-minute Died a Million Times manages to wed a sepulchral hymn and seismic riffs, although it loses momentum after the guitar solo. The catatonic 17-minute Vaenir reveals traces of shoegazing-rock and of the lysergic doom of Sleep. We Will Burn feels amateurish, and Nuclear Death sounds like a Black Sabbath cover. None of the songs is worth its duration. Someone needs to edit down their music.

Rust (2017) wasn't necessarily more melodic than the previous albums but the production pushed the melodies (and the singing) upfront. One of Jaeger's best vocal performances possesses the nine-minute Dear Lucifer and one of their more ferocious riffs fuels the 13-minute Forgotten Lands, until the guitars become simply a shroud of distortions in a shoegazing vein (the second half is totally redundant). The 15-minute At Niceae has a good guitar solo before the sixth minute but otherwise it is more yawn-inspiring that fear-inspiring, and the second solo before the ninth minute experiments with a fat timbre that all but kills the atmosphere, which is a pity because the third solo, an acoustic one, ends the album in a more interesting folkish way. Where Death Meets The Sea is a stab at pop-metal stardom. Keyboards and violin pop up for a few moments and one wishes those moments had lasted longer.

Judging from the production, No Comfort (2019) was meant to be a more melodic album, but the result is tedious lengthy litanies like the nine-minute The Bastard Son and the ten-minute Larvae that make the mediocre but truly poppy The Last Leaf sound refreshing. The eleven-minute No Comfort has the impossible task to redeem the album with a more atmospheric guitar part.

The catchy single Staying Home (2012) was another derivative pop-doom-metal ditty.

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