Review: Monarch – Never Forever

Posted: September 13, 2017 in ALERT: Awesome new music

Profound Lore will forever be one of my favourite record labels, having put out some of the most challenging and engaging extreme music out there, and the new record from French drone/doom lord Monarch may be one of its finest hours. ‘Never Forever’ is due to be released on the 22nd of September, and it is over an hour of glacial, hypnotising doom.

Opener ‘Of Night, With Knives’ builds with menacing fuzz and ghostly whispering, and as waves of droning, mesmerising doom flow over your ears the mood changes from harrowing to haunting. Emilie Bresson’s vocals are the true highlight here, with her soft croon being almost as affecting as her snarling shriek. Drone/doom may be a singularly repetitive genre, but Monarch’s take is particularly menacing. ‘Song to the Void’ is a monstrous emanation, and coupled with soft rhythmic vocals, is a contender for one of the more unsettling songs of the year.

But then the monolithic ‘Cadaverine’ takes over your mind for almost 18 minutes, with its glacial beauty and awe inspiring power. A sorrowful morass, the sounds of pure density and otherworldly electronica woven together in a tapestry of sound. The centrepiece is my highlight, although the droning majesty of the closing ‘Lilith’ pushes it close. The soulful soloing in ‘Diamant Noir’ (a twisted take on a Kiss classic) is an underrated gem that only really captures your attention on a second or third listen, and provides a bridge of reality between the two massive tracks.

Despite this being album eight, Monarch were new to me until this record and frankly that is embarassing. ‘Never Forever’ is a record that transcends mere genre constrictions, and comes from a place of soul, of darkness and of emotion. Drone/doom with all the emotional heft and helplessness you could want. This is glorious.


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