Monolord encompasses and transcends genre — a vortex of heavy rock density that consumes all others. Their thunderous, tuneful heft has built a rabid international fanbase since their 2014 debut. But Rust, the band’s third full length, truly justifies why some refer to them as the Nirvana of doom.
The band’s enveloping, syrupy sludge is a vibe, a state of mind. Not riffs for riffs’ sake, but a collective buzzing, rattling and rumbling that’s more total environment than collection of songs. Guitarist / vocalist Thomas Jäger, drummer Esben Willems, and bassist Mika Häkki create a massive, dynamic sound with ultra-low frequencies serving as a fourth member.
Album opener “Where Death Meets the Sea” perfectly exemplifies their mastery of dynamics and hooks: a driving, infectious buzzsaw riff that lesser bands would ride off into the sunset, but they use to subtly spur the skull rattling core ever onward. This tight rhythmic unit sounds like an early ZZ Top record played at half speed. “Dear Lucifer” squeals and hums with slow deliberation as Willems summons Dale Crover with chasm-like low-tuned toms and syncopated cymbal crashes. The album’s title track is also its centerpiece, opening with a dramatic, shimmering Hammond organ intro followed by the band kicking in with a bellowing line downtuned to B that nosedives as the drums hammer down for the kill.