» Blog Archive Monolord Deliver "No Comfort" -
Evan Conway Hard Music, News, Reviews

Your average stoner doom metal band has a lot to live up to, mainly because they have to try to overcome the inevitable comparison to Electric Wizard and Cough that they’ll eventually face, as well as a heap of Black Sabbath comparisons. Big riff progressions, unified guitar and bass tones, and reverberated vocals are the name of the game, and to do it well either becomes a monotonous effort to get through or a fun and enjoyable listen.

Monolord are now on album four and have had success with their brand of stoner doom. 2017’s Rust was an enjoyable listen, if not a bit long for its own good, but this year’s No Comfort rectifies what problems I had with their previous release. More focused, well paced, and straight to the point, this year’s effort only tightens that formula that Monolord have been working on for their career thus far.

“The Bastard Son” is about as by the numbers as a band like Monolord could get, but it’s with its subsequent tracks that it branches out and grows from a standard formula. It’s the little things, really, that make No Comfort work, what with layering of acoustic guitars and the band making use of the traditional stoner production style they make use of. “Larvae” is a big melodic track that, just when you think it’s over, goes into a crushing instrumental section that is something like a breakdown. Monolord can be adventurous, and it’s their balance between experimenting in songwriting and sticking to what they know that keeps them going onward.

The experimentation is a double edge sword, though. While I enjoy and am on board with what Monolord do, I like hearing them go out of their comfort zone a bit. In a way, this makes me hopeful that the band are going to incorporate more than your traditional doom sound. I’m not asking for weird time signatures or disco beats, but realistic experimentation, ideas that work for the band exemplified. 

That makes the conservative elements of the band’s sound the biggest downfall of No Comfort. The foundation is there, the soundscape is ready to be explored, but it never goes far enough to be what it can fully be. This doesn’t ruin the album in any shape or form, as it is a very well crafted example of the genre, but it can’t be ignored that the band are surely onto something. If they act on these aspects, they’ll see what they’re really capable of becoming.

All in all, though, Monolord are onto something big here. No Comfort perfects what they were doing before and is perfectly paced throughout, but also opens up the possibilities for more in the subsequent releases. This band’s got something good going for them, and in a constantly changing landscape of trends and bands coming and going, Monolord are doing better than most and doing a good job at it.

No Comfort will be released on September 20th on Relapse Records. You can stream “The Last Leaf” below.

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