If you’ve been frequenting this site over the course of last year, you might remember a post on Gothenburg, Sweden-based doom metal trio Monolord. Comprised of Thomas Jäger, Esben Willems, and Mika Häkki, the Swedish metal trio can trice their origins back to 2013, when both Jäger and Willems started the project as a side project that gave them the opportunity to play dark and heavy material away from their primary gig as members of boogie rock outfit Marulk. Häkki, who has had stints as a member of The Don Darlings and Rotten Sound was recruited to flesh out the band’s sound and complete their lineup. And reportedly while the trio started to write the material that would wind up comprising their critically applauded debut effort Empress Riding, they discovered that they had a very special creative chemistry that suggested that they needed to continue working together. Interestingly enough, the project marks the first time that Jäger took up vocal duties.
Having virtually met RidingEasy Records‘ head Daniel Hall through Instagram, the band sent Hall the completed files for their debut effort, and upon hearing it, Hall immediately signed them and officially released the album in 2014. Building upon the buzz of their debut, the trio released their critically applauded 2015 sophomore effort Vænir, which resulted in the band seeing a growing national and international profile. Last year, the duo released the “Lord of Suffering”/”Die in a Haze” 10 inch — and as I mentioned earlier, I wrote about “Die in Haze,” a sludgy and murky song in which sludgy, dirge metal, power chords are paired with thunderous drumming. Jäger’s vocals float ethically over the mix and as a result, the song has a subtle shoegazer quality, thanks in part to a rather enveloping sound. The 10 inch single’s A side “Lord of Suffering” will further cement their reputation for intense and punishing, power chord-heavy dirges with even heavier, down-tuned bass but unlike their previously released material the song manages to nod at several different things: thanks to an expansive song structure that allows the song’s driving groove and anthemic hook to propel the song towards its conclusion, the song suggests space rock and psych rock — while also subtly hinting at Black Sabbath‘s “Planet Caravan,” as Jäger’s voice is fed through a bit of vocoder and distortion and a subtle shimmering, cosmic glow.
The recently released video for “Lord of Suffering” features footage shot during Monolord’s European tour last year, and it gives you a sense of how intense their live shows must be. It’s a shame that I somehow missed them during their Summer 2016 tour — and I hope that I can catch them whenever they’re in town next; it looks like a fun set to shoot.