Hailing from Gothenburg, Monolord is unlike many of their local counterparts that aspired to rehash the melodic death metal sound established by Swedish metal titans. Instead, their focus on delivering a unique blend of distortion-rich doom metal has earned them both credibility and distinction in a burgeoning genre. No Comfort, their fourth full-length release, is ripe with ingenuity and promise, building upon what they established with Rust, replete with experimental overtones and an evolved sound beyond fuzzy peach doom metal riffs.
No Comfort kicks off with “The Bastard Son,” a bludgeoning concoction of sludgy riffs, thunderous drums, and groovy bass licks thicker than a vat of sticky molasses. For nearly ten minutes, the opening track sinks its hooks into you by submerging you with an Electric Wizard-inspired dispirited dirge ripe with tender emotion and poignant lyrics. The opening track does an excellent job of setting the atmosphere for the record with their carefully crafted doom metal style. Kicking it up a notch on the next track, “The Last Leaf” quickens up the pace, with vocalist/guitarist Thomas Jäger’s melodic vocals complementing the chunky riffage laced throughout the song. One of my highlights on the album is the sorrowful solo at the end of the song, which is the ideal preface to the subsequent track that is equally as melancholy, “Larvae.”
There’s something to be said for Monolord’s style in an era where doom metal has made a resurgence with the increasing popularity of bands such as Yob, Pallbearer, and my personal favourite, Khemmis. “Larvae” showcases Monolord adding a fresh twist to their doom metal brew. The acoustic introduction, funeral-style hymns, mesmerizing riffs, and tragic lyrics build-up to the final solo that elicits a profound, visceral reaction, bringing the song to a close. Particularly interesting is how the track slows down considerably halfway through the song to assault listeners with a distorted sonic interlude, only to transition back to a mellow pace. The transcendence from straight-up doom metal to melodic, intricate songwriting is indicative of Monolord’s progression in recent years and a testament to the talent of everyone in the group.
While “Larve” breaks you down and takes you on a whirlwind of emotions, the next two tracks are straight forward. “Skywards” reintroduces the
weighty distortion reminiscent of vintage doom metal rock with a pace that
chugs along until the song ends. The style then transitions back to an
experimental take for Monolord, abandoning the heavy licks for a more
harmonious approach. Fusing wailing vocals with acoustic strums, the band
teases listeners by building up to an epic close that never seems to
No Comfort then draws to a close with the self-titled track, an eleven-minute bittersweet epic journey that once again highlight’s the band’s proficiency. Featuring heartfelt vocals from Thomas Jäger (vocalist & guitarist), ponderous riffs, droning bass, and rhythmic beats, the final track does an exceptional job of bringing an engaging album to its conclusion. With three tracks eclipsing the nine-minute mark, the album seems to be shorter than it actually is, exhibiting how perfectly crafted this album is and how easy it is to get lost in the music.
It’s refreshing to see Monolord spread their wings and embark on a somewhat experimental approach rather than churning out a straight-up doom metal album. It also passes the test on repeat listens, as I find myself getting increasingly addicted to “Larvae,” which is without a doubt the best song on the album. Fans of Rust may lament the fact that No Comfort is comparatively not as heavy or crunchy as previous efforts, but Monolord has shown an evolution on their new record that only bodes well for their future.
Written by Jonathan Berthold
*edited by Mike Milito