[7.5/10] Doing long songs right is for many bands a perilous endeavor. Finding the right balance of a few dozen different possible variables to keep things interesting is something many fail at (just ask any of the countless bands that sought but never performed well in the post-metal movement). So the prospect of doing a single, super-long song and calling it an album is even more harrowing (though it can be done, Meshuggah, Deathspell Omega, even Porcupine Tree). For France’s Monolithe this has been the only way they push their creations, Monolithe III being (surprise!) the third such song-as-an-album indulgence, though the results are often fantastic they are occasionally balanced by the not-so-fantastic. Across the 52 minutes that make up Monolithe III there are more than a handful of pleasant surprises, least of all in the at times downright positive vibes espoused by all the free flowing use of melody.
It should come as no surprise that even though presented as a single work, Monolithe III is defined through the use of successive and interconnected movements. Not that these build in a rise/fall crescendo/drone kind of way, but rather in that individual sections are logical in how they connect to those that surround them. Melodies and motifs rise and fall, take the center and then retreat only to resurface later. Melody at times is everywhere and as was previously mentioned, the positivity conveyed through it is even uplifting, no mean feat for a ‘doom’ album. Not to say there is a shortage of body crushing heaviness here; oh no, it’s readily pervasive throughout, but there’s no shattering of the soul, no all-consuming black so commonly put down by doom groups.
With any monolithic (pun intended) work of this size intended for single-sitting listens, it can bleed together, there’s simply so much girth to keep track of over time. The end result is on a whole rewarding, but approach with caution, this is not for impatient or easily distracted.
Monolithe official site
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