Fifteen years have passed since Monolithe released their debut album. It took relatively little for the French band, led by Sylvain Bégot, to carve out a cult status among the fans of funeral doom, especially because at the conceptual level, instead of falling back on earthly misfortunes, tried to rise to a cosmic feeling with equally distressing results, if you look closely. Today, to accompany the leader, among the original members only the other guitarist Benoît Blin is left, since for the first time Monolithe does not make use of Richard Loudin’s voice, so that in Nebula Septem the vocal parts have been recorded by Sébastien Pierre (Enshine, Cold Insight), while in live performance the role will be taken by the third guitarist Remi Brochard. As you can guess from the title, this is the seventh long-distance album for the transalpine band (to whose discography we must also add the two Interlude, important ep released between II and III) and this number recurs in a timely manner both in the number of songs and in their duration, but beyond these aspects, it is comforting to see how the frequency of releases now annual has not affected the quality of the albums. Nebula Septem in some ways surprises, because if in Epsilon Aurigae certain progressive openings could presage a further increase of the melodic component, the sound on the contrary seems even tighten, without ever losing the atmospheric propensity and the cosmic breath that is the hallmark of Monolithe. If IV remains, even according to the same Bégot during the interesting documentary Innersight, the most successful album in the discography of ours, here we go very close to reaching that level, although it should be made clear that, for a satisfactory assimilation, several listenings are necessary, in order to be able to catch every time different nuances even if they are enclosed in a very compact sound “monolith”, erected by the three guitars and supported by an excellent keyboard work, by the magnificent growl of Pierre and by a rhythmic base much more active and in evidence compared to the habits of the genre. After all, the collocation of Monolithe in the funeral doom appears more a convention than a real picture of their current sounds, more properly defined as a cosmic and avant-garde extreme metal, not too distant in approach even from certain forms of atmospheric black/space. Nebula Septem, as it is structured, should be absorbed in its entirety, because talking about individual tracks would be quite useless: suffice it to say, however, that at least the first twenty-eight minutes are superlative (having to choose I take the pairing Burst In The Event Horizon / Coil Shaped Volutions), while the incipit of Engineering The Rip video game could be disorienting so it is good to say that the whole thing lasts very little, before the musical galaxy called Monolithe begins to fall again on the listener as usual, until closing the games with the instrumental Gravity Flood, sprinkled with electronics at the beginning and then melodic and painful as doom script. Once again Monolithe hit the mark, demonstrating that you can keep your own identity even making different variations to the main theme, which is still the ideal sound accompaniment of the journeys undertaken by our imagination beyond time and space.
2018 – Les Acteurs De L’Ombre Productions