© 2019 — Lore

Review: Monolord – No Comfort

Monolord have been bestowing us with their music since 2013. Formed in Gothenburg, Sweden, they been known for their different take on the doom genre since the release of their first album, Empress Rising, back in 2014. Since then, they’ve released two more full-lengths, an EP and a pair of ten-inch singles. This year, No Comfort joins this legacy and stands as a milestone in the band’s career.

 

 

WHAT CAN WE EXPECT FROM NO COMFORT?

MIKA “Well, you can definitely expect Monolord. But it is a little more emotional. Some of the songs are much more sad and there is one song that is not really what you would expect from us sound wise.”

THOMAS “You can tell it’s us but it’s a little bit different. It’s a different take, a bit more mellow.”

We are welcomed to this new record with a music that feels like returning home in a “Monolordic” space. For better or worse, it’s a place we recognize immediately, would it not for the first track being an extension of previous sonorities. “The Bastard Son”, in specific, embraces the already iconic slow-paced and distortion-filled music Monolord has gotten us used to. While I appreciate a good slow and heavy sonority, as I started to listen to the second track – filled again with more slowness and distortion -, I couldn’t stop thinking that this would inevitably be the formula for the rest of the record. It didn’t take long, howerever, to understand that I was gladly mistaken as just halfway through “The Last Leaf”, the music changes to a light and atmospheric ambience, almost Pink Floydian. The riffs that were transformed and given a psychedelic new life go swirling and growing through the last 2 minutes of the song, undoubtedly marking it as one of the highlights of the album – I could continue listening to that looped riff for many more minutes.

 

IS THERE A SPECIFIC CONCEPT BEHIND THIS NEW RECORD?

THOMAS “It’s like an evolving theme from the last record or the second record almost. Very dystopian, post-apocalyptic. One of the songs, and in the songs too, has a religious element. People are still engaging in religion in 2019 and I can’t wrap my head around it.”

Although slow-paced, “Larvae” is a different song from what we heard before by Monolord: it takes us through an introspective journey. Throughout the record we can sense this overall feeling of longing and it’s especially evident in this track as it induces us in a more contemplative and abstract state. With the distorted voice of Jäger guiding us, we rail on brooding and reflective sonorities for almost the entirety of the song. After some time tripping in these melancholic waves, there awaits us yet another unexpected turn, but this one is turning the pensive and gentle sounds into a pit of doom. Quite literally, as we were seeing a facade of Monolord drifting and full of psychedelic twirls. It’s with quite enjoyment that we welcome the change in the sound that revives the headbang as we sensed the heaviness befalling. This ultimately culminates in an ugly HUGH! by Jäger – quite reminiscent of the legacy of Tom G. Warrior – and this unleashes a doom-paced song finale.

From the sickness inside
to the surface of lies
Controlled by the device
they find peace in demise.
When the spirits awake
more decisions to make
All your safety’s a lie
It’s all gone when you die.

LARVAE – Monolord

 

By this time, the title No Comfort starts to resonate, as it’s evident that this album is a lot more personal and deliberate than previous records. The lyrics point to a lot more of personal struggles and doubts, and while it is mainly reflective, it sometimes approaches some topics with a hint of criticism.

“Skywards” takes us back to the usual construction of a doom song: lethargic, heavy and looped riffs alternated with some only-bass “space” that set the overall pace of the track. As the music evolves, the chunkier riffs shift and grow to a clearer and more psychedelic tone. The guitar starts to set more space for the yelled chorus “Where are you going?”, with the music changing too and growing those spaces to a more delicate mood. This culminates on a completely different pace from the beginning of the song, as it was naturally grown, it makes sense. 

This change of pace sets the mood for one of the most contemplative tracks of this record. “Alone Together” is a melancholy anthem – the overall simplicity of the instruments, including the addition of an acoustic guitar, and Jäger’s sorrowed voice, particularly reinforce the predominant feeling of longing that is felt throughout the entire record. The introduction gives away a desolated sentiment, which is really a place we all know, and it feels like we are walking right into those memories as the music unfolds.

“No Comfort” comes next and extends this feeling of desperation with a more mellow ambience. As the song grows, so does the feeling – there are again slowness and hypnotic formulations that seek to penetrate deeper in the abyss, all the while a well-balanced interaction happens between obscure and  psychedelic sounds.

 

 

WHAT IS THE MEANING BEHIND THE ALBUM’S TITLE AND HOW DOES IT RELATE TO THE CONCEPT?

THOMAS “It’s many things but one of the things is like, and I’ll tell you the short story, me and my girlfriend have been through some stuff over the years and sometimes it feels like you are so sad that nothing can comfort you. But music often can. I don’t know, sometimes there is just no comfort for what you are going through.”

In the desolate wasteland
Where we are
Alone here together
We are none

ALONE TOGETHER – Monolord

This album sets a change in Monolord’s path. The simple yet attentive and detailed drums by Esben, the depth and thickness given by Mika’s bass and the melodic yet powerful guitar of Jäger, all interconnected by the latter’s ghostlike vocals, come together in an album that may be defined as a back-to-the-roots-of-doom. An album that gathers Monolord’s identity, but reaches to elements of 70’s rock and approaches soundscapes reminiscent of Pink Floyd and Black Sabbath. No Comfort sets a new and interesting trail for Monolord to roam and we will be here to follow them on this trip.

 

Highlight tracks: The Last Leaf; Alone Together; No Comfort

 

Words by Marta Rebelo
Interview conducted at SonicBlast Moledo 2019 by Filipe Silva

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