SOM 348D (DAX112XT).inddOne visit to The Monolith Deathcult’s website or Facebook page and you’ll instantly have the same problem I do when trying to take these guys seriously. I mean, come on. If you met me in a bar and I was holding a baseball bat, outfitted in atrocious sunglasses, and sucking on a cigar, you’d be looking to trade me for the lead man of Bad Guys as your designated wingman, and rightly so. It doesn’t help when the promo info drops names like Cannibal Corpse and Hate Eternal and then follows it up with “The more observant reader and listener will need only a single note to notice the flagrant discrepancy between us and the mentioned bands. This is due to an appalling lack of talent in the members of The Monolith Deathcult. It’s no wonder we play guitars with extreme body shapes to mask our lack of talent.” So, in keeping with the theme, it seems only fitting that The Monolith Deathcult would drop an eight-track, forty-minute EP called Bloodcvlts (their first ever EP, even though they have five full-lengths over a twelve-year existence). Absurd band photos, silly promotional write-ups, and atmospheric/symphonic death metal with industrial elements? I’ll let you be the judge.

Admittedly, I had never heard of this band before picking up the promo for Bloodcvlts. Diving into their back-catalog, their debut and sophomore outings (The Apotheosis [2003] and The White Crematorium [2005], respectively) offer some standard DM before they veered onto an electronic side-road that lead to Trivmirate [2008] and Tetragammaton [2013]. These latter two releases see TMDC blend Septicflesh-like death symphonics with industrial flourishes that are encompassed by big orchestrations and haunting samples. Trivmirate is clearly the superior release in their discog but the latest Tetragammaton finds TMDC going balls-out heavy as they dip their sound deeper into Septicflesh orchestration (just try your damndest to ignore the silly Optimus Prime-esque narration). Bloodcvlts mirrors its predecessor in heaviness and approach but only a handful of tracks from this EP carry the same atmospheric weight.

Songs like “Reign of Hell,” “Der Hexenhammer,” and “GeneSYS” showcase powerful orchestration that results in sinister soundscapes and atmospheric BIG-otry as they pass in and out of blistering fast – and somewhat technical – DM rifferisms and mid-to-slow paced doomeries. The whirling guitar attacks and frenetic drum work of TMDC is further emphasized with dual vocal duties by guitarist Michiel Dekker and bassist Robin Kok. They mix up the vox department with sharp and guttural DM growls, BM-like raspings, and even a low-and-slow Peter Steele baritone (see closer “Den Ensomme Nordens Dronning”). This combination forces them to the border between brutal death metal and the symphonic variety without actually teetering one way or the other.

The Monolith Deathcult - Bloodcvlt 02

Speaking of “Den Ensomme Nodrens Dronning,” if you know anything about TMDC then you will recognize this title as the closer to Trivmirate. The version on Bloodcvlts is a shortened remix that takes the original fourteen-minute opus and slows it down with some Spanish-influenced guitars and low, rumbling vocals. This twisted half-child is so far-and-removed that it’s difficult to see the family resemblance but, as it stands, it’s a neat rendition that closes out Bloodcvlts beautifully. Bloodcvlts also sports a second remix in the obviously named “Die Waffe Mensch RMX.” Originally titled “Todesnacht von Stammhiem” and taken from Tetragammaton, this fun loving track can only be described as a love-child of Rammstein; full of electronics and techno memorability. Knowing what you now know about modern day The Monolith Deathcult, this song is perfectly idiotic and perfectly misplaced; leaving you both annoyed and amused by its disruption of continuity and asinine catchiness. Next to “Doom of the Tawusê Melek” (my vote for 2015 Riff O’ The Year so far), I find myself listening to these two remixes more than any other track on the album.

While nothing special and leaving me not all-too-excited for their coming full-length, Bloodcvlts does have something going for it; its production. Not overly impressive when looking at the DR rating, but not a single track on this release clips. This makes it one of the most ear-friendly albums of the year (and much of the reason I gave it a 3.0). The screwball attitude and production alone make Bloodcvlts worth the journey but its filler and length hurt it as an EP.


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Season of Mist
Websites: TheMonolithDeathcultOfficial | Facebook.com/TheMonolithDeathcult
Release Dates: EU: 2015.03.23 | NA: 03.24.2015