Monolord – Your Time to Shine Review

Three Monolord reviews, and three 3.0 scores. The epitome of “good.” In fact, when I jotted down all the metadata for this album I also penciled in “3.0 of course” for my rating placeholder. I mean, what are the odds the score goes up or down? Actually, here on Your Time to Shine, the Swedish doom trio’s fifth album, there’s a good chance of that score coming untracked, at least if they continue down the less-fuzz, more-doom path they started down with No Comfort. As mentioned two years ago, the band seemed to be evolving into a “fuzzier version of Pallbearer. Whether that is good or bad depends entirely of the quality of the songwriting, so let’s press play and see how these fellas fare.

Where No Comfort opened as all Monolord albums preceding it did, Your Time to Shine digs right into the Pallbearer-core that the last album brought into play, only fuzzier. “The Weary” smacks the listener in the side of the head with distorted relentlessness for more than a minute before settling into a satisfying riff – still fuzzier than a giant peach1 but otherwise straight out of the modern doom playbook. Along with the following songs (“To Each Their Own” and “I’ll Be Damned”), one can confidently label the front half of the album as “good.” It’s a boring word, and these songs are better than boring – the arrangements are interesting and dynamic. Monolord are clearly establishing their style as modern fuzzy doom.

That’s not completely fair. “I’ll Be Damned” is far more aggressive than anything else on the album, with some massive riffage, churning bass, and primordial drumming. It seems odd to say, but it lifts the album’s mood. It’s definitely the most stoner-metal track of the five on Your Time to Shine. It also ends the album’s front half. The back half, comprised of only two songs, actually has the band’s stronger songwriting. The title track is over eleven minutes long, and an excellent example of the modern doom song that Pallbearer has made popular. Long, ponderous, and moody, but eight minutes in the band changes things up with an airy, tremolo-laden guitar melody, echoing ambience, and a hypnotic percussive groove that I keep going back to. The outro elevates the song from good to really good, and coupled with the noisy, epic closing track (which earns bonus points for its cowbell presence) serves as a very engaging back half.

The musicianship throughout is top notch, as are the sounds chosen, from fuzz tone to drums. While the percussion could be mixed with a bit more aggression, plenty of room has been left for Mika Häkki and Esben Willems to leave their mark. Häkki in particular shines on bass, playing off Thomas Jäger’s layered guitars to captivating effect. Vocally, Jäger continues to keep his distance from the mic, with his voice echoing plaintively in the background. He could certainly bring more presence to the songs; his voice is good enough now to not be thought of as a weakness.

There’s not a huge divergence in sound or style on Your Time to Shine. Monolord’s sound is still quite similar to No Comfort but the script is flipped, with less stoner fuzz and more poignant doom. We once again have a “good” album that’s fun to listen to but won’t have everyone rushing to hit the repeat button – although this time the band has edged enticingly close to the “very good” end of the spectrum. Keep it going, boys: you’re only 17 albums away from the rarified air of the “iconic” score!

Rating: 3.0/5.02
DR: 7 | Format Reviewed: 224 kbps mp3
Label: Relapse Records
Websites: | |
Release Worldwide: October 29, 2021

Show 2 footnotes

  1. Yeah I said that in an earlier review, so what.
  2. Still!
« »