The spaceship called Monolithe, still led by Sylvain Bégot and his historical partner Benoît Blin, undauntedly continues the interplanetary voyage begun twenty years ago and does so while maintaining its own precise identity, even with all the normal stylistic evolutions that have inevitably taken place over such a long period of time. This latest Kosmodrom, an album that more than ever is dedicated on a conceptual level to space endeavours, particularly those pioneering ones at the turn of the 1950s and 1960s by the then Soviet Union, brings the sonorities back to a compactness and obscurity that, after the close of the cycle called The Great Clockmaker (with the albums from 2003 to 2014), had given way to progressive impulses. The same renunciation of clean vocal parts, with the exception of the contribution of the female vocal provided by London Lawhon in the opener Sputnik-1, is in some ways another sign of the more extreme approach to the material, with Rémi Brochard’s growl standing out without making concessions against a context that, even in the more reflective passages, appears constantly cloaked in a perceptible restlessness; on the other hand, certain themes reinforce the insignificance and dismay in the face of the immensity of the universe of a humanity that, between outbursts of resourcefulness and heroism and unforgivable sins of presumption, continues the exploration of space with ever greater abundance of economic and technological means. In little more than an hour, Monolithe impose their unmistakable style, touching at several junctures high peaks of lyricism, particularly in the splendid Kudryavka, a track that recalls the sacrifice of the poor little dog that we westerners know as Laika (whose real name was precisely Kudryavka), yet another sentient being to whom man has inflicted useless and atrocious suffering; in this occasion a more melodic touch is provided by the presence as guest on lead guitar of Jari Lindholm (Enshine, Exgenesis), Swedish musician who has been accompanying Monolithe in the recording studio since Nebula Septem. In addition to two other tracks in line with the value and style of the French band such as Voskhod and Soyuz, the album closes with Kosmonavt, the longest episode with its twenty-six minutes, a sort of compendium of Monolithe‘s knowledge of how to master the material while keeping the tension high and escaping the risk of an unnecessary dilution of content. We are in the presence of yet another album of great value offered by a reality that, in deference to its initial concept, transcends not only the boundaries of space and time, but also the narrower ones of extreme doom, presenting itself as one of the most important names that have emerged in the new millennium, and those who are still unaware of its existence would do well to update themselves in a hurry.
2022 – Independent