Monarch
Dead Men Tell No Tales

In the early 1970’s the British Government was reprimanded by the European Convention on Human Rights for torturing suspected IRA members by using a Sensory Deprivation method know as “White Noise”. Well, I think the European Convention on Human Rights needs to investigate Crucial Blast and France’s Monarch! for similar offenses.

What’s better than 1 drone/sludge/noise/doom record? How about 2 of them? In one package? Dead Men Tell No Tales is an exhaustive 2 CD effort that includes the band’s most recent album, Die Tonight as well as a repressing of the 2006 limited release, Speak of the Sea, with a bonus track included. That makes for an hour and a half of the most painfully discordant, sludgy, droning, feedback drenched sensory deprivation I’ve ever been forced to listen to.

And it’s brilliant.

Unlike sheer, real noise acts, Monarch! Use actual riffs and songs, and though the songs initially come across as no more than 20 minutes of the same riff, layered with the truly painful screams of Emillie Bresson, but upon truly, but after many attentive, ear splitting, endurance testing listening sessions, the depth, weight and density of the music here is that of genius.

Die Tonight is 2, twenty-minute songs (“Winter Bride” and “Swan Song”) in itself, both exploratory lesson in fractal, yet drawn out feedback and sinlge notes that last an entire minute. And in both, once Bresson starts her torturous wails and whispering, you are jarred from a brain melting, drooling coma of relatively loping, thunderous drone and feedback into a nightmarish, hollow and infinite realm of exquisite atonality and anguish. It’s truly disturbing stuff and sort of reminds me of a female fronted, doom/sludge version of Leviathan in its tangibly unsettling atmospheres.

The Speak of the Sea CD, contains an extended, ear wilting, 26-minute version of the already 20-minute “We Are the Musicmakers”, an utterly draining, feedback drenched journey into the Mariana Trench of music, while “Speak of the Devil, Speak of The Sea” delivers…….. well, more of the same. There’s no change in pace, delivery or mercy in any of this. “Dead Men Tell No Tales (Spoken Word Version)” only lets up, because it replaces Bresson’s torturous wails with haunting whispers over windswept ambience and in contrast to the sheer force of the other tracks, is downright creepy.

The fact I don’t usually like drone/noise/sludge like SunnO))), Earth and such, yet am horrifically hypnotized by the release, speak volumes. But, whenever I listen to this album, it physically affects me and weights on my psyche. I feel like a part of me erodes upon each playback, so I kind of have to limit myself. That folks, is genius.

Now if you will excuse me, I have an urgent appointment with my Therapist.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Erik T
April 23rd, 2007

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