Monotheist
Scourge

So two major label, modern tech death metal bands are going to be vying for your attention this spring. On Metal Blade we have Rivers of Nihil and their  ambitiously evolved Where Owls Know My Name, on Prosthetic Records,  we have Orlando’s ‘philosophical’ (not all of the band members are Christian),  progressive death metal new comers, Monotheist, which features vocalist JJ Polachek of 7 Horns 7 Eyes (album was also mixed and mastered by Aaron Smith of same band) , Lorelei and Ovid’s Withering and a former live Gigan session member. And both are worthy of your time and attention.

A starting reference for Monotheist’s sound is Black Crown Initiate, maybe mixed with Job For A Cowboy’s Ruination and Demonocracy and the last Inanimate Existence album , Underneath a Melting Sky. It’s a skilled, choppy, modern American tech death record with lots of progressive, experimental  elements and hues.

The album blasts right out of the gates with to the point opener “The Grey King” where Monotheist forcibly inform you they can deliver some flat out nasty modern tech death metal with some tasty leads and a burly late song lurch that is pretty darn effective, and also features Christian Alvestam of Scar Symmetry fame, (though I could not tell where).

Second track “The Great Chain at the Neck of the Earth”, a almost 7 minute number ( there are some long tracks on the album), is where Monotheist really start to unfurl and reveal their more progressive, ambitious elements with a serpentine mix of shifting lurches, blast beats and clean elements. “Mark of the Beast I: The Image (Prelude)” then delivers a nice string quartet interlude to preface “Mark of the Beast II: Scion of Darkness”, another sprawling eight minute number with lots of stuff going on, including a short jazz break, and a slow moody bridge and solo.

Then the album really gets deep. We then get three, 10+ minute numbers in “Infinite Wisdom”, an overly long instrumental, which loses my interest,  the stunning, sprawling “Desolate, It Mourns Before Me”, the album’s most experimental track which utilizes some nice ethereal female backing vocals and spacey keys and orchestral segue and a cool little flamenco ish break  and “Abominable Acts”, which is my personal favorite from the entire album die to its gorgeous lead about 2 1/2 minutes in. The poor but competent title track suffers the fate of being after these two monsters, but has the same prose and skill as everything before it, including some well done, but short lived clean vocals.

The two song combo of “Desolate, It Mourns Before Me” and “Abominable Acts” alone makes this album worth it, but the additional 40 minutes of experimental, precise modern tech death metal makes it even more worthwhile and Monotheist are certainly a top promising young act to keep an eye on in a crowded genre.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by E. Thomas
March 27th, 2018

Comments

  1. Commented by: Sniippy

    Another hard pass. Too many crap band names mentioned.


  2. Commented by: aaronius

    This is an awesome, massive sounding album. I don’t guess we’re ever going to get a follow up to the 7 Horns 7 Eyes album which is a shame, but this is good stuff.


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