Being a 2 piece band, Monolithian have no place sounding so huge. The sludge metallers who consist of Simon on bass/vocals and Shannon on drums are like a freight train of doomy grooves, smattered with the odd moment of death metal prowess.
One/Zero is an expanded version of the band’s One EP with an additional 4 new recordings. Monolithian don’t muck around when showcasing what they’re about and quickly begin with a massive, sludge metal riff before launching into a furious blast of death metal. This is Monolithian’s winning formula and the band pull off this fusion of genres effortlessly. It doesn’t surprise me that 5 different labels are backing this release.
A real stand-out moment comes in The Dry which puts the band’s heavier side at the forefront. The death metal riffing and drumming is balanced nicely with a punky bounce that proves there’s a lot more to this band than alternating between doom and death. It also goes a long way to prove that electric guitars are unnecessary if you have a bass guitar and a dirty distortion pedal. It really is outstanding how Monolithian have managed to sound this big with such a limited set-up.
It’s a bit of a shame then that the Zero half of the record turns out a mixed bag. While it is obvious that the band are talented songwriters, the production quality changes and greatly juxtaposes with the One half. The drums in Baptism are a good example of this as they are significantly under-produced which results in them taking on a much muddier sound. The double bass drumming is reduced to a low rumbling which doesn’t do Shannon the justice she deserves.
Luckily, this is improved on the following 3 songs which include the epic Under the Obelisk. This song thunders along for a staggering 7 minutes without getting boring. Doom metal has the tendency to worship one riff for far too long but Monolithian keep things nice and varied, giving the listener a lot more meat to tuck into over your typical, pretentious, sludge. They even get a chance to throw in a faster section which will more than likely whip up some violent circle pits.
Monolithian are an impressive little prospect. The doom metal duo pepper their music with the right amount of death and crust that offers up one of the most interesting sludge releases we’ve heard in a long time. One/Zero is an enormous, towering beast of a doom record that will make the listener feel like they truly are standing Under the Obelisk.