Monolithe – “Epsilon Aurigae” (Debemur Morti Productions)
Behold the monolith. In the past as hard to explain as the four million-year-old inert black object in Stanley Kubrick’s 1968 film ‘2001: A Space Odyssey’, so to is France’s own Monolithe! As if in complete contrast to the gleaming lights of their capital city, Monolithe’s dark blend of doom and prog has previously seen the release of single track albums, and in parallel to Kubrick’s own concept of human evolution, as seen through the eyes of founder guitarist Sylvain Bégot, who to all intents and purposes is Monolithe – with everyone else being session players directed by him! Taking inspiration from early 90s Candlemass era doom, “Epsilon Aurigae” is more palatable than its predecessors in being split into three 15 minute tracks (with each one exactly 15 minutes!) and now with a more liberal use of synths, also incorporating a rich, progressive style to the mix at times reminiscent of early Rush – quite exquisite if I might say so! With matching superior musicianship be it in Bégot’s own darkly exotic guitars and Richard Loudin’s hauntingly diverse vocal range – from ghostly to deep drawls to carnal roars – songs like ‘Everlasting Sentry’ resonate cerebral composition throughout, appreciated all the more thanks to the excellent production that skillfully balances massive sounds with the more ethereal. It’s very much in line with Bégot‘s strive towards perfection, but this time around he’s extended a warm invitation to the uninitiated for the massive cosmic maelstrom known as Monolithe.