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Behold! The Monolith
Architects of the Void
Released: 2015, Independent
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
Coincidentally, the second release I covered this month is also from a band that's trying to experiment with combining different styles of heavy music: BEHOLD! THE MONOLITH's sound is a hybrid of Doom and Stoner Metal with some Thrash Metal parts, Progressive Rock leanings and vocals that shift a lot from normal singing to growls and screams. Their third release Architects of the Void, is a somewhat uneven collection of songs with sparse arrangements in which the band goes for broke and integrates all of the elements mentioned above. The problem, though, is that forcing these elements together creates the sense of randomness, with songs jumping from Space Rock jams to Thrash Metal and then Stone Metal without ever feeling cohesive. It's like the band started tripping on drugs then got a sudden wake up call in the middle of the song because the producer said "please play faster now". The clean production job is also detrimental since it never allows the band to sound "monolithic", and instead they sound mechanical and predictable, specially during the faster parts of the songs.
The strongest moments in Architects of the Void happen when BEHOLD! THE MONOLITH slow down. The song that stands out for me out of the whole bunch is "Lord of Bones", which opens with the only heavy riff I was able to find on this album. The tempos here have a sort of EYEHATEGOD feel if you replaced that band's dirty, greasy production with a cleaner production job. While "Lord of Bones" is an okay song as far as what the band are doing, the rest of the album suffers from not having too many interesting things happen: opener "Umbral Vale" is a melodic Doom Metal cut with chants, and that's about it. I guess it's intended to be an intro for the rest of the songs, but it just stays there. "Philosopher's Blade" starts off with some BLACK SABBATH-inspired licks but then shifts into this monotonous Stoner riff that doesn't pick up at any moment. The vocals, as much as they shift from Death Metal growls to Black Metal screams, don't really do anything to elevate the music and just lay there. This tendency is repeated throughout the album, and it starts to become repetitive early on. When doing clean vocals, such as in "Mithridist" and the title track, they also fall flat, despite the production's best efforts to add effects in order to make them sound epic. There are also acoustic sections which appear randomly, yet predictably during many songs.
All in all, BEHOLD! THE MONOLITH's Architects of the Void is marred by predictability and lack of cohesion. While the intentions are noble, the results don't work that well due to the band's reliance on jumping from one style to the next without any thing to link the arrangements internally. There is nothing here you haven't heard before and better. The few moments that inspire interest are buried within meandering songs that don't really go anywhere, making this a tiring and draining listening experience.
1. Umbral Vale
2. Philosopher's Blade
3. The Mithriditist
4. Lord of Bones
5. Black Days Of...
6. Between Oder and the Vistula
7. Architects of the Void
Jordan Nalley - Vocals
Matt Price - Guitar
Jason "Cas" Casanova - Bass
Chase Manhattan - Rhythm and Lead Drums
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