Two years ago, I had the pleasure of reviewing The Monolith Deathcult‘s 2015 EP Bloodcvlts. And by “pleasure,” I mean something else entirely. The band is everything Leave It to Beaver‘s Eddie Haskell could be in reality. At first, the band seems like a serious, straight-laced Dutch death metal group. They’re polite and always outgoing, straight-to-the-point and never misleading. Then you discover the truth: that’s all bullshit. In reality, these guys are about as serious as a rabbit challenging a bulldozer. Their promo sheets are comic genius, their sound-clipped records induce eye rolling, and their mix of brutal, industrial, and symphonic death is a mindfuck. The moment you take them seriously, they come out on pogo-sticks. The moment you begin to laugh, they knock your teeth out. But, unlike the sometimes silly Bloodcvlts, Versvs 1 is as serious as cancer. Well, maybe not that one part. Oh, wait… No, that’s a pretty serious part. I think… Actually… I have no fucking clue anymore.

Because Haskell strikes when you least expect it. After checking out tracks like the gut-shredding “The Furious Gods” and “Die Glocke,” one would expect blank-faced solemnity from the band. But, that’s just silly. Instead, you get the opener and its Rod Serling-like monologue behind the ridiculous crack and crunch of a beer can. And then you get “Seven Months of Mysticum” and “From the Stalinic Perspective.” Two tracks you discover to be reimaginings of The White Crematorium‘s “7 Months of Suffering” and “The White Crematorium,” respectively. The other thing you discover is that Versvs 1 is “Part 1” of a three-part project. A project that, once completed, will be known simply as V. After fucking with you yet again, you regain your bearings and decide to give the rest of the album a chance. Because, though it may sound like it, this is no The White Crematorium 2.0 (The Revenge of the Failed).

Instead, these rehashings are legit; modernizing their counterparts and adding bucket-loads of Septicflesh orchestrations. Hell, in some respects, I actually like these versions better than the originals. Furthermore, the additions and subtractions to the songs contribute well to the album’s character. “Seven Months of Mysticum” unleashes a teeth-grinding, industrial-tinged assault two minutes in and “From the Stalinic Perspective” closes out the record with massive vocals, guitars, orchestration, and touches of a haunting piano to drive it home.

But, it’s decimators like “The Furious Gods,” “Uchronian March of the Deathcults,” and “This Inhuman Place Makes Human Monsters” that keep me coming back. Each has a march that fits the individual song’s theme like a glove. Concepts include Nazi occult fascinations and the horrors of Stalin’s Red Army. On top of the ripping riffs, alternating rasps and deep-throated grunts, there exists a holistic machine-shop feel to the songs. In particular, the machine-like gratings and heavings are unique to the hammer-on-anvil poundings of Ministry. While “The Furious Gods” and “This Inhuman Place Makes Human Monsters” do it via intense pummeling and exaggerated vocals/sound-clips, “Uchronian March of the Deathcults” achieves it in a way that feels like hopelessness. Like being trapped in a medieval dungeon with the vocal support of Sigh. Some are lengthy, but all are gripping. I, for one, can’t get enough of the catchiness of “The Furious Gods” and the ball-busting riff that splits “This Inhuman Place Makes Human Monsters” wide open.

Though the album is a crushing behemoth, the sporadic use of Rod Serling-like narration throughout (especially in opener “Rod Serling’s Radio Dramas”) and the absurd stories about secret Nazi time machines (“Die Glocke”) remind us all who we’re dealing with. It’s made even more apparent with the latter’s odd, yet badass, acoustic guitar interlude. Perhaps the only real issue I have with Versvs 1 is its clunky flow. Especially in comparison to records like Trivmvirate and Tetragrammaton. But, knowing the band, this was probably intentional. Regardless, Versvs 1 is better than Bloodcvlts and it has me excited for the next stage of the upcoming trilogy. So, come one and all. Partake in the jokes, overindulge in the metal.


Rating: 3.5/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 128 kbps mp3
Label: Hammerheart Records
Websites: facebook.com/monolithdeathcult
Releases Worldwide: May 19th, 2017

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  • Ta2dlam

    I dug both Tetragrammaton and Triumvirate as well as the embed. I usually enjoy albums where AMG reviewers have some trouble finding bands to tag and when those few include Septicflesh and Ministry can I expect some original-ish aroma in the oft stale metal air?

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Indeed, you can find some originality in here.

  • Apple Tree

    I just cant get behind this record. I get that its supposed to not be serious or whatever, but the electronic and industrial stuff just sounds so bad that i cant enjoy it

    • Sharp-Blunt Boy

      Yep – I think they overdid it with the wobbly spaceship theremin sound effect on the embedded track. I dig it, but can’t imagine repeat listens. I suspect awesome fun to be had live though.

      • TMDC_GUITAR

        No, we did not

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    I was listening to the embedded track as I read the review, all the while thinking “This sounds quite a bit like Behemoth”. I was really expecting a Behemoth name drop, until I read the line “the album is a crushing behemoth”. Close. But no cigar.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      I still win.

  • Melisa Mahan

    I just listened to the album in it’s entirety on Spotify. Not gonna lie… it’s a shit ton of fun.

  • METAL OTTER

    I’m just glad we’re not leaving Ash, he’s already had it rough with the deadites (i.e. deathcult).

  • Nola Trash Talk

    Having read a lot about Nazi occultism and Kammler’s crazy SS science programs…AND already enjoying TMDC’s last few albums, this is fucking wonderful.

    • herrschobel

      haha…yeah Nazi occultism is always a good read !

  • herrschobel

    hooooray …totally digging this …fun + heavy as fuck …gimme beer !! wait it´s just 11:00 am …fuck it …gimme beeeeeeeer

    • Meriyas

      11am is well past the social acceptance point for beer.
      For me anyway…

      • herrschobel

        good man !

  • Meriyas

    Nice review Ass Nullifier. It sounds like their EP is a good listen and might check this one out too.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Ass Nullif… you sum bitch…

      And you should. Fun shit.

  • AndySynn

    From context I think you may have received the promo sheet that I ended up writing for them…

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Oh I know I did… And know YOU did… Marvelous, btw.

      • AndySynn

        Oh, thank you. It was a lot of fun to do it, and the original was just woefully inadequate and painfully generic.

        The label messed around with the formatting a bit for the final release, which annoyed me slightly… but I did it as a favour entirely off my own back, so was just glad I could help in the end!

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          I’m glad you did. This band needs something like that or no one will understand them.

          • AndySynn

            In fairness… no-one understands them anyway. Buncha weirdos…

  • This review should have been written in Haskell. Just saying.

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Good point… Shit!

    • sir_c

      you are more nerd than I thought.

      • You really have no idea. :-)

        • sir_c

          I could have known of course. Someone who can recognize albums by looking at their FFT profile must have some quirk :-)

  • miradautasvras

    Are those guitars rather huge or the dudes rather small??

    • Dr. A.N. Grier

      Those 7-stringer, dude. Them are huge.

      • Drew Music

        But totally worth their initial unwieldiness. A lot of people find them to be unnecessary, but I just love that expanded range. Being able to do soaring lead work then jump back to chugging your own rhythm section out is so freeing when you’re a guitarist sans band.

        • Dr. A.N. Grier

          I agree. I’ve always wanted a seven-string. I’m one of those people that manipulates my six-string to give me some of the umph of a seven.

          • Drew Music

            Guilty of the same. I had a 7 string Schecter back in the day and loved it, currently abusing a 6 string and waiting to win the lottery in order to finally acquire an acceptable rig.

          • Hi five. I have 7 string Schecter and it’s really comfy. Now I’m finally in the process of changing pickups into something more versatile than stock pseudo-blackouts – and I’m excited as a kid with a new toy.

          • Drew Music

            That is an exciting prospect. Pedals and amp effects are cool and all for shaping your own sound, but there’s something to be said for modifying the instrument itself in order to suit your stylistic requirements. Then there are the Brian Mays of the world, who make us all look so lazy by comparison…

          • Then why didn’t you just change the instrument? They are just a little more expensive than 6s (due to increased usage of materials) and if you are afraid of learning the freatboard again or getting used to wider neck – it’s not really a problem. You will be inspired with all the new possibilities of creating chords and riffs.

          • Dr. A.N. Grier

            I’m broke, dammit!!

      • Plus, the “arms” of a V give a few extra inches to the body.

    • sir_c

      It’s what you do with it that counts

    • TMDC_GUITAR

      and we are huge too, we are Dutch

  • TMDC_GUITAR

    We did already orchestrations when Septic Flesh was playing black metal