Although, we are 3 months in since the new year began, it is today that we celebrate the 1st CD of 2018! Such a big occasion cannot go without a feast, hence the album that I have in store for you is massive. Without further due, let me present you for the first time Monolithe and their 7th full-length “Nebula Septem“.
Monolithe was an uncharted area for me up until this point. I simply went in the blind looking for an exciting new material that would break the routine and I got more than expected. This package is a loud statement from a monolithic band that has a knack for composing celestial music period! Whether you take it from a technical, artistic or innovative standpoint, “Nebula Septem” reaches the highest ranks deservedly.
7 musicians, 7 tracks with an even span of 7 minutes, all with tonality based on one of the 7 notes of the Western scale. Each title starts with a letter in chronological order from A to G; You guessed it, it relates to seven! Indeed, such an achievement is impressive given all the technical constraints that encompass this concept. For that I give Monolithe full credit for their mathematical precision and openness to challenges. Beyond these facts however, is that unearthly treasure that absorbed me into the deep space of “Nebula Septem“.
Considering its death/doom nature, “Nebula Septem” relies on dramatic pacing with a focus on profound experience. Gradually shifting from epic to mysterious and then sorrowful setting, it is reminiscent of the harrowing search of man’s origins. Through the thick of oblivion, to the harsh beating of the unknown and the grand reveal of existence’s puzzle; The everlasting strive for answers within ourselves and beyond earthly boundaries exemplified through music. It is a grand manifestation of multi-faceted artistry that makes a point out of seemingly minimalistic patterns.
Given the uniformed track list, each minute counts for a breathtaking moment. The backbone being an epic array of guitar melodies so profoundly emotional and interplanetary atmospherics; These traits weave around each other creating a splendid variation within the slow-paced range. Moreover, with the progressive elements stepping in, it adds up to the profusion of dynamics concerning the instrumentals. What baffles me is the great attention to details on every layer in this part alone. Every chord, drum beat and aerial presence of the synth contributes to evoking a vibrant cosmic voyage that surpasses expectations by far.
The established harmony between each instrument is a pure enlightenment especially if you are a performer or wanna-be-artist yourself. There is an adamant link that amplifies the effectiveness of the musical components, thus increasing the immersiveness to heights where few can brag to have reached. With such a mindful song writing and technical mindset to play with the listener’s sensations, it is evident that Monolithe are proficient at making thought-provoking soundscapes. No matter where I was along the track list, every passage made me reflect, admire and wonder about interstellar existence and where our place is on the grand scheme.
Another major highlight speaking of the overall performance in this album is the vocal delivery. Sebastien Pierre’s focused guttural screaming brings so much power and character to each track that I could feel his ultimate dedication to his craft. With his ease of managing low / high growls and the commitment in pouring out his soul, the outcome is solidified as an absolute badassary.
Side note: Sebastien did session vocals for the album and is not a full-time member. He is known for taking part in bands like Enshine, Fractal Gates and Cold Insight.
Side note 2: Speaking of death metal, after all the years in listening various stuff, Bloodbath still stands as my number one choice. However, with Nick Holmes filling the gaps as a vocalist, I got slightly alienated. Long story short, I missed the intensity and sheer maniacal aggression that Mikael or Peter would deliver as in the releases before the arrival of “Grand Morbid Funeral“. Sebastien ‘s splendid work with Monolithe had me thinking what if he were to be offered the job. Given his badass handling of growls, I could see him as an ideal fit for a death metal band with a traditional flavour.
Last but not the least is the professionally designed covert artwork, layout and presentation as a whole. Obviously, Robert Høyem, the artist behind it, took a great deal of time to fully embrace the album in order to come up with a piece like this. What I value the most is not only the subtle complexity but the accurate illustration of the contents in the CD itself. Even before taking a plunge, I roughly had an idea that I’d deal with music that demands more concentration. Moreover, it hints about intelligence and artistic mastery with no over the top composition to tell a story.
Taking a look from above, this record is fine by every standard you can think of. It is written, mastered and delivered in a professional manner akin to best of the best talents in the extreme metal field. Again, the superior management on every facet plays a major role in having such a well-rounded record that sets a milestone in Monilithe’s career. Does it top all the previous records, though? Well, you are to be the judge here as this is my very first album from this collective and I am already in for more!
Special regards to Les Acteurs de l’Ombre Productions for providing a physical copy. Order yours via the Bandcamp player or through their online store.