Behold! The Monolith - Behold! The Monolith
Self-released
Progressive Sludge Metal
5 songs (40:39)
Release year: 2009
Reviewed by Goat

Impressed as I was with this band’s self-titled EP of earlier this year, the newly-arrived album (also self-titled) has impressed me even more. Few underground, unsigned bands seem to work so hard as these guys do, and with a work rate this teeth-grindingly Protestant, success seems just around the corner for the band, especially with releases as impressive as this. Opening with the Mastodon-meets-Wino Sludge of Battlestagg, it’s soon clear that the band have turned up the Proggyness without reducing the natural harshness of their sound. Riffs straight from the 70s assault your ears, melodic guitar weavings battling it out with Kevin McDane’s caveman vocals, but it’s the way that the track fades away and the complex Battle For Balls Deep starts to build into a spiralling Doom stomper that really impresses. Despite the tongue-in-cheek song title, this is very much Sludge of the nasty variety, gigantic riffs and tormented vocals soon turning into psychedelic strumming and almost pastoral melodies, early Isis and later Isis combining in a single song that doesn’t put a step wrong once in its ten-minute-plus length.

The album gets even better from then on, two seven-minute mini-epics knocking you for six as the heaviness returns and is channelled through classic Doom vibes sure to delight any fan of the downtuned. All is not quite perfect, the songs perhaps benefiting from being cut down to the five-minute mark, but the band make good usage of the running lengths, packing in the riffs and bass/guitar interplay on Elders especially, before Phantasmata/Waking Life adds film samples and catchy rambunctiousness to the mix. However, it’s the twelve-minute finale of Guardians Of The Abyss/Primal Extenuation/Rise Of The Brohemoth that really shows the band’s skills, starting with clean melodies in an almost cheerful way before heavy-ing out in style.

There is room for improvement here and there – a bit more variety in the base Sludgy riffs would really take them into the stratosphere – but by and large Behold! The Monolith is an excellent album and promises great things to come from the band. If you find yourself wishing that Mastodon would go back to their old Sludgy ways then you should certainly check this band out.

MySpace
Killing Songs :
Battle For Balls Deep, Guardians Of The Abyss/Primal Extenuation/Rise Of The Brohemoth
Goat quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Behold! The Monolith that we have reviewed:
Behold! The Monolith - Behold! The Monolith (EP) reviewed by Goat and quoted no quote
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