Sweden’s Monolord worship at the altar of the riff and on third effort Rust that riff comes downtuned, weighty and driven by bass. Vocals are hazy at best, which only adds to the ceremonial vibrations that Monolord deliver on a record that delves into darkness on its way to the end.
Predecessor Vænir from 2015 was found to be lacking where it counted most – the songs – and in Rust, Monolord have gone back to the drawing board and pulled out that love for writing, something they showed much promise with on 2014 debut Empress Rising. Rust is a journey with songs building in scope as the record moves on until it hits the zenith with fifteen minute closer “At Niceae” – a track so enormous and doomed that monolithic barely covers it.
The record opens on the slow but deftly melodic “Where Death Meets the Sea,” a track that weaves a deliberately ramped down feel around Thomas Jäger’s affected vocals. His voice often feels cloaked with smoke and it’s in this technique that Monolord bring about that opium-laced gloom that genre peers Electric Wizard have become the leaders of.
“Dear Lucifer” brings about a simple progression but still those gorgeous melodies shine through the twilight before the organ-led intro of “Rust” casts a momentous shadow of theatre across it all. It’s here that Monolord break from the murkiness and guitars become substantially clearer, obscuring vocals and cutting through the darkness. Melancholy strikes close to the beautifully sorrowful “Wormland,” a track that is permeated with glorious sadness and elegantly rendered strings – vocals are absent and that is absolutely the right thing for this wonderful ode to despair.
Rust is truly a joy to behold and in building their artistic expression slowly and steadily towards the expansive plains of the two final tracks, Monolord recognise their strengths lie in glowing melodies and deliciously downtuned riffs.
7.5 / 10
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