Released: 2001, Unsung Heroes Records
Reviewer: Night of the Realm
Here we have the almighty Rampage, Vic’s own one-man doom-death black metal fury unleashed. MONOLITH TO AN ABANDONED PAST is a landmark for Rampage’s history, being a collection of early Rampage songs of classic heavy metal (The Abandoned Past), doom metal (The End of an Era), and a couple covers (In Memoriam).
Starting things off on “The Abandoned Past” section of the disc is “Doomsayer.” What a heavy slab this is! Heavy Sabbathy riffs thick with distortion as well as some dirty Celtic Frost influences (right down to the vox!). This track moves along at a good clip that is quite headbang-able, and the whole song carries several tons of momentum, compelling you to bang along. “Wanderlust” has got to be one of the fucking coolest power-thrash songs I have ever heard. Opening with a very doomy extended intro (Very melancholic, but, I admit, I was thinking, “get to the point already” the first time through), the guitars explode at around the 2:45 mark into a great lead. US Power Metal! Fucking! This shit is as good as anything Manilla Road or Warlord have done. We even get a little bit of what sounds to me like KISS-inspired power chords (weird as it sounds). The overall mood of this song is melancholic as the lyrics follow DANTE’S INFERNO, taking us deep into the frosty core of hell. My only complaint about this song is the drumming; with some more ballsy drumming, the intensity of this song could be compounded exponentially. The melodic interlude in the middle starting around 5:05 through 5:45 is especially nice, as are the big chords at 6:53. Fuck! If the entire album were in this style, I’d love an entire album in this style. “Doom Metal” is precisely that. Well over 8 minutes of the slowest, sludgiest doom metal Good stuff that is certain to depress even the happiest metalhead.
Moving along, “The End of an Era” section leads off with “Whitechapel,” the longest track on the disc at nearly sixteen minutes. This track is all about atmosphere, as everything comes together to create a bizarre doom-death piece. Quite creepy, really. “Cursed With Existence/Monolith…” is my second favourite song on the album. Bluesy Sabbath doom in its finest form, you’ll be hard-pressed to find this style done better.
Closing out the album is “In Memoriam,” including Sabbath “Wheels of Confusion/The Straightener,” Mayhem’s “Funeral Fog.” With 70 minutes of music, the covers are not needed, but they make for an interesting listen.
Besides having one of the best titles in all of Metal, MONOLITH TO AN ABANDONED PAST is an essential slab of blackened death-doom. My favourite part of the album are actually the first 3 tracks from Rampage’s demo days, as well as the masterpiece “Cursed With Existence/Monolith…” With UHR titles going for 5 bucks at BarbarianWrath-Vinland, , this title is well worth your money.