Monolord - Empress RisingSander strikes again! I repeat Sander strikes again! When he sends messages or a  mail that say stop what you are doing and listen to this…..well, given his track record, I do just that. His advice this time to listen to a band called Monolord. They are a trio out of Sweden, and Sweden just isn’t a place where you automatically think doom.

Candlemass, yes, and the recently formed Avatarium (Leif Edling of Candlemass) but by and large doom is left more to the Finnish cousins. So I guess Sander’s record is on the line and just how good is this new Swedish doom sound of Monolord’s “Empress Rising”, are a couple of questions I need to divine the answer to.

Well, my friend Sander can rest easy his record remains in tact, what a corker this one turned out to be, mountains and mountains of riffs, dirty, edgy, in short quality metal on the doomy side of life. This is a very guitar driven style of music, not to shy away from any bass and drums, but center stage belongs to the riffs. The title track opens things up with, you guessed, low nasty riffs, accented nicely by bass and drums. Combined these three Swedes really blow the end off low end. Its got an air of hypnotic repetition to it, and it just works. Even though things are recycled through the opener, there seems to be a nuance here and there that really captures you. So much so it reaches out and slowly embraces you and before you know it you are part of the music.

The stand out for me is ‘Harbinger of Death’ not just because harbinger is one of the coolest words ever and not because I am on a personal death metal fueled stage in life but because it captures the essence of the band. Fuzz, a nugget here to ponder, bass lines to make your mind wander through the songs, and enough cymbal work to keep you sane in their world. The vocals in all these tracks are run through an nice effects pedal to keep them backgrounded and add just the right amount of fuzz to fully integrate it into the Monolord way. To me, this harbinger track captures all of this musically and the emotion and spirit of the band, it settles into me like no other song on this album, and the after effects are still with me.

Monolord is definitely another must hear for fans of things on the stoner and more doomy side of metal. In fact, if anyone wants to hear a properly done guitar driven dose of metal this is it. There are no 1000 note per second solos, they just don’t need them. The power they capture speaks for itself. This style of music is really having a good year so far and it’s only March, this is going to be a great year for metal. Check out these Swedes, it’s proper metal.

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