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  • Review by Faye Coulman


With its densely contorted lines of inky, ceaselessly churning fretwork, ghoulish atmospherics and exquisitely fine melodic details, it’s hard to imagine a record more perfectly engineered for doom-laden listening pleasure than Monad’s gloriously deathly debut. But despite being generously steeped in all the instantly identifiable trappings and trademarks of the genre, the brutally crushing and coldly majestic ‘IVIIV’ displays a rare richness of character that’s seldom witnessed within this frequently unimaginative tradition.

Refreshingly irregular too is the meticulously engineered care with which every colossal groove and ethereal wisp of distortion is handled, with ‘Your Wounds Were My Temple’s’ melodic accents displaying crystalline clarity atop a great, churning undertow of bass. Punctuated by a bone-splintering succession of blasts whose monolithic, tombstone-heavy pacing palpably reeks of the grave, these restlessly energised contortions finally relent and ebb seamlessly away beneath a lush expanse of Katatonia-esque fretwork.

Indeed, such luxuriantly layered arrangements feature prominently throughout this epic slab of a long-player, with ‘To A Bloodstained Shore’ swamping the senses in abrasive lashings of densely muscular tremolo before accelerating into a battering frenzy of hyperblasts. Through a dusky haze of dissonant screams that linger like restless spirits from the beyond, it is here that the Belgians deftly weave a plethora of smouldering, delicately fragile and gilded textures into a veritable tapestry of feeling.

With each track clocking in at a whopping ten minutes and more, this is by no means an easily digestible or casual listen, with these meticulous players taking ample time to carefully meld and introduce each new segment to fluidly cohesive effect. And from breakneck, wildly turbulent shifts to gracefully fluid and organic transitions, this is an album of darkly expansive and intensely haunting proportions.

'IVIIV' is out now on Aesthetic Death Records

For more on Monads, visit

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