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

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  • Wilhelm

    Not much on the broootal death scene, but I dig it.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Definitely an interesting band. And my vote for best band photo of 2015.

      • Hulksteraus

        Is that a mono-brow on the short of hair one??!!

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          I’m no expert in mono-brows but I am going to have to say yes in this case.

  • AndySynn

    I love these guys (as everyone knows). Both Triumvirate and Tetragrammaton are faaaaaaaar superior to anything SF have put out (barring Communion) and I’ll stand by that against all comers.

    Though this one… I do like it, but it’s definitely more of an oddity than either of its predecessors (though, I grant you… they were plenty odd!)

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Whoa!! Don’t let Madam X see you saying that…

      But, I agree that the variety TMDC has makes for an enjoyable listen. I wanted to score this higher but it just doesn’t reach Triumvirate status (I fucking love that album).

    • basenjibrian

      Tetra has been on heavy play in my earphones. I even find myself grinning widely at the “Optimus Prime” narration!
      But still, Tetra remains heavy as hell! Great death metal.

      • AndySynn

        Funny story – we went on tour with them last year (had a great time) and they asked me if I wanted to do some guest vocals… of course I said yes, and got up to do the big final chorus on “Wrath of the Ba’ath”. Though what I really wanted to do was come on and do the narration for the intro to “S.A.D.M.”, but it would have been much easier to fuck that up!

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          Badass!!

  • sir_c

    This is schizophrenic stuff.
    Mr Jekyll says it is just some mediocre crock o’ shite, but mr. Hyde does not really care and digs the hell out of this, even though he can’t really tell why.

  • Diabolus_in_Muzaka

    I like Tetragrammaton better than Trivmirate (I think I’m alone here), but both are great albums nonetheless. I was less excited for this being an EP, but at 40 minutes and after reading this review, I’ll be making some space in the rotation for it. Peter Cullen’s narration was hilarious, I honestly thought it added to Tetragrammaton’s self-aware ridiculousness in a great way. Crediting him as Optimus Prime in the liner notes was a nice touch too. Great review from the good doctor as per usual!

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Thanks for the kind words, sir.

      Tetragrammaton is a good album. I like it quite a bit but Trivmirate just does more for me. You’ll get something out of this EP for sure.

      Optimus Prime! Ridiculous but awesome.

  • Colin Stuart

    Tetragrammaton was one of my most listened to albums of 2013 and is still in regular rotation. Excited to hear some more stuff from these guys.

  • That has got to be one of the best promotional band photos I’ve ever seen!

  • Requiem

    After the badass slabs of epicness that were Trivmvirate and Tetragrammaton, this is frankly a disappointment ._.

  • Feeblejocks

    Oh my Lucifer … that first paragraph … that band photo … the narration at the beginning of the embedded track … I seriously can’t stop laughing.