South Africa’s Monolith (ZA) puts a moody mark on death metal with its new eight-song release, The Lord Conspirator, being released by MMD Records’ subsidiary, MMD Black on April 28th 2020. A follow-up to the band’s two previous EPs, Memory Palace and Legacy of the Opium Eater, The Lord Conspirator shows a band very comfortable in its own skin, seamlessly blending blast beats with somber passages and tightly coordinated guitar melodies. This wall of sound is complemented by crusty vocals from the stringed section of the band. Yep, both guitarists and the bassist are layered up vocally, and the result is a dense, ominous wash of meticulously sculpted vocal fry.
These fellas are definitely playing death metal, but, as the kids like to say, it hits different. Yeah, they’re pummeling, blasting, crunching and double-picking, but where this sort of description might typically call for comparisons to Cannibal Corpse or Six Feet Under, it’d be smarter to file Monolith (ZA) closer to Neurosis and other atmospheric metal. Many of the band’s arpeggiated, melodic sections recall Times of Grace andpractically beg for a spacey, acoustic remix, and one wonders if these elements might not become even more prominent in future releases.