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Monolord: No Comfort

There’s an art to stoner sludge that more people need to appreciate. Some people suggest that the style is too repetitive or that it lost its ability to surprise listeners many years ago. Clearly, these folks haven’t listened to Monolord. Here’s a band that has always understood exactly what to do with this style. Throughout their career, Monolord has combined powerful riffs with just enough groove to keep things hopping just so. They also take advantage of a vocal style that is simultaneously trippy and clean. The most important quality of Monolord’s sound, however, is the way they transform distortion from something powerful into something familiar, almost even comforting. I don’t mean they aren’t trying to bombard listeners because they are definitely doing that. Behind all the volume, however, Monolord really wants the listener to pay attention to what’s going on. And they succeed. Their sound is engaging but it is also surprising and refreshing in ways that set this band apart.

Monolord has always been great, but this album represents a shift from a great band to a genre leader. This album, the band’s first release with Relapse Records, is a triumph of the genre. The album opens with “The Bastard Son,” one of the bands best tracks, one that could almost beat “We Will Burn,” my long-time favorite. But “The Bastard Son” is far from the only highlight here. “Skywards” is a killer track that ends with a soothing arpeggio that perfectly contrasts with the song’s brutal opening riff. There’s also “Larvae,” a slightly more subtle track (at least at first) that takes its time to build up into a sludgy ooze that takes advantage of a surprising�"and very effective�"pause. “Larvae” slows the album’s tempo down a bit but is possibly more powerful because of it. If you’ve listened thus far, you should stick around for the rest. I especially suggest “No Comfort,” the album’s closer. Here’s something that highlights Monolord’s more subtle, yet expansive, side. I don’t mean the song is softer or merely experimental, but it is taking the band’s sound into slightly unexpected places. The good news is that it maintains all the components that make Monolord so strong.

Several of the tracks here are on the long side but they never wear out their welcome. Monolord takes advantage of varying things up just enough to keep listeners interested and engaged. Besides, you won’t want most of these songs to end. This album is a triumph of the stoner sludge sound and is definitely worth your attention. If nothing else, be sure to check out “The Bastard Son,” “Larvae,” and “Skywards.”

Track Listing:
1. The Bastard Son
2. The Last Leaf
3. Larvae
4. Skywards
5. Alone Together Forever Divided
6. No Comfort

Added: September 21st 2019
Reviewer: Carl Sederholm
Related Link: Band Website
Hits: 618
Language: english

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