Monolith Cult - Gospel of Despair
Transcending Records
Traditional Doom Metal
7 songs (42' 7")
Release year: 2017
Reviewed by Andy

Monolith Cult brings us a sophomore album that channels the gargantuan riffs and intense clean vocals of Candlemass. Gospel of Despair is a partial success; the strengths of their predecessors are clearly showcased here in the form of the riffing, and many listeners might consider the heaviness of the album alone worth the price of admission.

The crunching riffs of traditional doom are the strongest moments for the band. I was reminded of Solstice -- not without reason, I discovered, as bassist Izak Gloom is Solstice's bassist. As with that band, the riffs are lumbering but quick on their feet, falling on top of the listener like a load of concrete blocks. There isn't much technical lead work, but the rhythm is unadulterated British doom, old-fashioned Sabbath-style distortion and all. It's all too common for a doom band to focus all their efforts on the riffs but provide wimpy vocals, but not here: Bryan Outlaw has a very good set of pipes, and his vibrato-filled delivery is rock solid without sounding like a Messiah Marcolin clone. You may have heard the labyrinthine dragging and howled vibrato of Kings of All That's Lost before, but you'll likely be hitting the repeat button to hear it again, too.

The songwriting might leave the listener with a mouldering bone or two to pick. No song is without its set of riffs, but in and of themselves, none are memorable. Remember how you could hear a single one of the songs on Nightfall and not only be blown away while listening to it, but be humming the darn thing for weeks afterwards? Gospel of Despair uses one aimless vocal melody for almost every song, and by the end of the album, sung well or not, it becomes annoying. Some variation beyond just changing up the riffs would be a major improvement.

Depending on one's predilections, this may or may not matter. It's not a bad listen anyway, and for those to whom a killer doom riff is more important than a good melody, this will definitely fit the bill.

Killing Songs :
Kings of All That's Lost, Death Means Nothing
Andy quoted 74 / 100
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