Blackened doom two-piece Monolithian have finally seen fit to drop an album that accurately showcases the band at their finest. Monolithian are a weird prospect in that their melody is entirely achieved through a bass guitar and while they sound absolutely beastly in a live setting, their recorded output tends to be a hit and miss affair in regards to capturing the size and weight of their sound. Thankfully, debut album The Finest Day I Ever Lived, Was When Tomorrow Never Came. captures this perfectly and it becomes Monolithian’s best work in the process.
For a band with only two members, Monolithian have a surprisingly large amount of ideas to showcase on this record. The band constantly switches from down-tempo, lurching sludge metal like on opener The Finest Day… to fast-paced blackened nastiness like Black Flame Candle. It’s a thrilling display of heaviness that keeps you on your toes throughout and occasionally both styles manage to blend resulting in some of the best material the band have ever written. Great examples of this come in the form of Second of the Istari and Treebeard which trudges along at a steady pace for the majority of its run-time before taking a turn for the dangerous and throwing in some filthy black metal riffs.
Then there’s album closer Thought Out of Existence. Clocking in at just under 13 minutes, this is a behemoth of a doom track that also features input from noise act Knifedoutofexistence. It turns out this collaboration is something of a revelation as not only does it showcase exactly what Monolithian are about, it also includes some wonderful atmosphere and tension that makes the experience feel wholly desperate and depraved. It’s one of the finest pieces of music the band have achieved and you owe it to yourself to hear it.
The binding element that really helps showcase the band’s music in the best light is the fantastic production and mix. Every aspect of the band’s sound is razor sharp yet all the dirt and grime that comes with something as disgusting as blackened doom metal is there for all to enjoy. This sounds like Monolithian playing live and it’s a frightening, crushing prospect that’s absolutely essential for fans of sludgy, bass-heavy metal.
Monolithian are quite a special little band. This guy and gal have managed to master their craft so well that the limitations of a two-piece are blown apart to create a sound that is… well, monolithic. The Finest Day I Ever Lived, Was When Tomorrow Never Came. is the album the band have always threatened to make and I welcome its arrival with open arms.
Monolithian’s The Finest Day I Ever Lived, Was When Tomorrow Never Came. is out now on limited edition 12″ vinyl through the band, Atomsmasher Records, Animal Defence Records and Skin & Bones Records.