Monolord - Rust 01First of all, Monolord is a great band name. I can’t believe it took until 2013 for a band to grab that name. And grab it this Gothenburg trio did. While we didn’t review their slightly overhyped debut, Empress Rising, our beloved Roquentin took a look at 2015’s follow-up, Vænir, and liked what he heard. Monolord, as a name, suits these guys perfectly, as they are beholden to only one lord, and that is the Lord of the Riff. Since they hit the scene they’ve been bringing massive, fuzzy variations of Black Sabbath/Electric Wizard worship to the table. Not spectacularly original, but well-crafted and tasty songs that satisfy the doom/sludge/stoner fans amongst us. And now with their third album in four years, Rust, the band looks to keep that momentum going. Can they do it, or will oxidation take its toll?

Well, if it ain’t broken don’t fix it, and Monolord don’t fix anything on Rust. It follows the same template as Vænir did, and does so perfectly. That means if you loved Vænir you’ll love Rust, and if not, well, there’s lots of music out there for everyone. “Where Death Meets the Sea” kicks things off with, yes, an incredibly massive, monolithic, and every other big m-word riff. Take a ponderous, sludgy Black Sabbath riff, throw on the biggest fuzz pedal this side of Fu Manchu, and let ‘er rip. Thomas Jäger sounds like he’s singing in another room, with big reverb and slap echoes drenching his voice. But this isn’t a record where the voice takes priority: it’s the guitars we’ve come to hear (also Jäger), and they are gloriously out front. And if you weren’t sure about that, how about the intro to “Dear Lucifer,” which takes distortion to an eardrum-shredding level.

The six songs on Rust are split evenly between epic-length and short-ish. “Where Death Meets the Sea” and the excellent title track, with its ominous organ intro, are sub-six minutes, while the albums lone throwaway number, the uninspired instrumental “Wormland,” clocks in just past six minutes. On the other end of the spectrum are the two songs closing out the album, “Forgotten Lands” and “At Niceae,” together drilling riffage into our heads for nearly half an hour. The former breaks up the monotony of the riff with a psychedelic jam in the middle, while the latter does so with a couple minutes of lone guitarwork and a fadeout to acoustic strumming and effects-laden singing. Both on their own are stellar efforts, but one after the other in succession tests the limits of our patience.

Monolord - Rust 02With fuzz dominating the mix more than an actual instrument, it can be hard to focus on the layers beneath — that is, the performances on the instruments. But blocking Jäger’s guitar from the mind for a while unearths a solid, driving rhythm section, again taking its queue from Electric Wizard. Mika Häkki walks a fine line between underpinning the proceedings with drummer Esben Willems and providing some tasty interplay with the guitars via thick, roiling bass lines. The chemistry of the trio is palpable and helps offset some of the sameness that can sneak in as we listen to a riff for eight, twelve, or fifteen minutes. All that distortion can also take frequencies away from other instruments, but here the drums and bass do manage to be heard, although not quite with the bottomend we may have hoped for — that’s reserved for the guitars.

As they’ve shown since coming on the scene a few years ago, Monolord know what they do best, and they stick to it. I could easily have taken Roquentin’s excellent review of Vænir and just changed the name to Rust, and you’d have the same understanding of what’s going on here. Meaning if you’re into Monolord’s sludgy, fuzzy riffage, you’re going to love Rust. It’s a solid slab of doom and aside from “Wormland,” its biggest fault is the monotony that can accompany the style, especially in super-long songs. Lose yourself in the riffs and you’ll be perfectly at home in Rust.


Rating: 3.0/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: RidingEasy
Websites: monolord.bandcamp.com | monolord.com | facebook.com/monolordsweden
Releases Worldwide: September 29th, 2017

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  • wayne the devil

    Love this album. Pretty darn good imo…had this crammed in my ear all week long….along with Deadsmoke…..ahh Doom Metal earmuffs….so much better than the blitz of Black Metal (insert relase here) that sounds like it was recorded with nose kazoo’s that’s hit in the last couple of weeks…

  • André Snyde Lopes

    Awesome album cover, boring music.

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      +0.5 points for you.

  • DIMENSIONAL BLEEDTHROUGH

    Man, so much doom lately. My wallet can’t take it.

    (psst, Huck, it’s “taking its cue”)

    • Huck N’ Roll

      Dammit! I blame the editors.

  • Brutalist_Receptacle

    MORE LIKE “OH LORD” AMIRITE

  • Mollusc

    I’m going to wait for Stereolord.

    • METAL OTTER

      Surroundlord has Monolord beat 5:1.

      • Mollusc

        Quadlord and Soundbarlord didn’t stand a chance.

        • Eli Valcik

          Those sound like workout machines.

          • Mollusc

            Nothing like a stoner/doom workout to get you pumped. Or something.

      • Tofu muncher

        I hope Darken Boom Box’s latest album won’t be as boring as this. Really. I yawned.

    • Nukenado

      My stoner band Tetralord Monofuzz would absolutely dissolve these guys.

      • Mollusc

        Curse you, Tetralord Monofuzz!

        • Nukenado

          Wanna join our supergroup, Hexalord Monofuzz 7.1?

          • Mollusc

            Yes please. I’ve got a Big Muff.

      • sir_c

        And it would take nine days before you realize you have been listening to a ground loop all the time

        • Nukenado

          Forgive me, but your joke went over my head…

          • sir_c

            Fuzz as in monofuzz

          • Nukenado

            Oops. Gotcha.

  • Feytalist

    I aaaalmost liked Vænir, but just not quite. Wonder if this one will do any better.

    I am a sucker for doom.

    • Eli Valcik

      Yeah, Monolord has some things that I like in their sound but mostly I just come away unimpressed.

      I’m a sucker for doom too.

  • Eli Valcik

    Dear Album art,

    Do better!

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      I think its good… -0.5 for you

      • Eli Valcik

        What’s that car doing in the Dirt? What did that car ever do?

        • Carlos Marrickvillian

          Obviously they’re truffle hunting… Sheesh that’s another -0.5 for you!

  • E N J O Y A B L E

  • The Unicorn

    Empress Rising was crushing. Nothing since has held a candle to these ears.

  • Carlos Marrickvillian

    Love the art, makes me want to like the music!

  • Matt slatz

    Those cars are saying “I know those Atari 2600 e.t. cartridges are down here somewhere”

  • I like this a lot more than I thought I would. Great guitar tone and cover art. I’d say that I generally don’t like doom, but I think I’ve worked out that mainly don’t like groovy or rocky doom. I appreciate the lurching stuff a lot more.

  • RuySan

    Those are the most expensive goalposts i’ve ever seen.

  • AgonMcDuck

    I like this album. Really, I do. But I keep thinking that all their songs would be better with Dorthia Cottrell on vocals. Idk why.

  • False

    I remember picking up Vænir last year because I enjoyed the embedded track so much. Unfortunately, the song got old fast, and the entire album sounded pretty much the same. I think I’ll pass this time.

  • Jason

    “STUNTICONS! Merge to form MENASOR!”