Brutal death metal with a lighthearted edge.
As a general rule of thumb, I’m not much of a death metal fan. Particularly I’m not a fan of the heavier side of the genre, the constant “Gawr! Gawr! Gawr!” of lyrics that don’t make any sense and the brutal yet clichéd and often boring “GRIND! GRIND! GRIND!” that the guitars belch out umpteen times a minute. Death metal is a genre that is teetering on the edge of utmost boredom, trapped by the very distinctions that make it unique.
Monolith Deathcult’s Tetragrammaton is like the death metal version of Febreze. Something so fresh and unique that it actually sounds pretty damn good. The Deathcult manage to mix death metal with a little bit of comic relief. Unlike most bands, they actually know how serious the death metal genre takes itself, and they use this to their advantage. Whether it is the robotic sounding voice that welcomes you to this album, or the same voice which repeatedly mispronounces the album title on the final track, the Deathcult know that this is what the genre is all about, and keep it as fresh as possible.
Tetragrammaton starts as it means to continue. This album is a brutal onslaught of death metal with subtle symphonic tones. Heavy, pounding drums and sounds of impending doom whisk you away on a journey that will only end with the destruction of the ‘stars, life and nebulae’. ‘Gods Among Insects’ is exactly what you’d expect from a death metal band, brutal guitars and frantic drumming that could wake the dead. In amongst this maelstrom of noise stands a lone keyboard with a passion for the symphonic tones that makes up so much of this genre’s history. He alone stands against the coming darkness of brutal death metal, like a stalwart rock in the midst of a raging torrent.
However, a shout out goes to the vocals because I can actually understand what they are singing about, which is a first for me. Kok does a brilliant job behind the microphone, and his growling throbbing voice will cut through your skin like a cannon filled with broken glass and oozing balls of hatred.
The album pushes the time to just under an hour, with the shortest song being just under six and a half minutes. Whilst it would seem like a long haul TMDC manages to make it seem fresh and exciting all of the way through the album. Something about this record just seems to stick with you, and help you across it’s length. It is full of cheesy remarks and cheesier vocals. With that robotic voice that you meet on the first track popping up throughout the album, telling you these days men shall see death, amongst other more important things. But it all adds to the mood of the record, and helps it gain a specific type of style.
TDCM are totally aware of their flaws, and they know that this type of metal is not for the faint hearted. Anyone looking for guitar virtuosos should look elsewhere for their fix, this is pure metal to bang your head too until you can’t bang no more. This is music to mosh pit to until someone walks away with a bloody nose and a battered face. TMDC provide an excellent outlet for all your anger and emotion. However, despite all this attempt as freshness, there is nothing new from the death metal genre to be gained here, and whilst it is all brilliant work, you have probably heard most of it before.
In conclusion, The Monolith Deathcult have produced an album that is both heavy and light hearted, they understand that death metal ain’t getting any heavier and they don’t try to achieve that. Instead they sit on the fringe of supreme heaviness, throw in a keyboardist and a spoon full of comedy. This album is full of cliches, catchy riffs, intense drumming and crazy album titles. Yet it is something that this genre needs, because sometimes death metal needs to lighten up. Listen to with caution, because if you’re not careful your ears may fall off and you will no longer be able to hear music.
The Monolith Deathcult – Tetragrammaton is released on 10/5/2013 (I’m British, so that’s the 10th of May, not the 5th of October.)
1. God Among Insects 10:03
2. Human Wave Attack 8:55
3. Drugs, Thugs and Machetes 7:47
4. Todesnacht von Stammheim 6:24
5. S.A.D.M 6:24
6. Qasr Al-Nihaya 6:58
7. Aslimu!!! All Slain 10:43