on 19 January 2004
I could describe this album in one word.... epic, but that wouldn't be very helpful to be honest so I shall elaborate.
If you are a fan of Doom metal or mid paced heavy, heavy rock then I find it hard to believe that you could be dissappointed by this release. In some strange parallel universe Monument is probably the core teaching aid at the "School of how to play huge sounding music" along with "Bullet Belts for Beginners" and "Ten steps to fearsome facial hair"... or something... That's not to say that this album is simply a rehash of the admittedly well trodden Black Sabbath-esque rock path. Monument is ridiculously fresh sounding and it's almost impossible to pinpoint why; there are no gimmicks here just awesome perfomances and songwriting.
The riffs are huge and slow and the songs intricate but not overwrought. They build and build like, well some huge stoney monument actually. There are also some interesting effects and instrumentation to be heard, flourishes that complement the overall feel rather than fill gaps.. for instance the introduction is a great mood setter, akin to Bathory's Hammerheart.
I have to say that for such a slow and heavy album this is incredibly listenable, there is a kind of unswerving confidence to the musicianship and songwriting that means each piece never out stays its welcome and leaves you desperate for more. Special mention must also go to singer JB's voice; surely one of the most incredible modern rock singers, seriously, just buy this album to hear the man roar in a manner which would probably loosen a lions bowels.
Comparisons are annoying, but useful, so if you like Doom, or own the first Grand Magus album, or anything by Spiritual Beggars, Black Sabbath... you know the kind of territory... you will be blown away, i truly believe that this album ups the ante for heavy music by a long shot.
Enough of me, I'm off now to plan an evening of dancing round my three foot mock up of stonehenge dressed in a bearskin, whilst listening to this album.