Cold Are The Graves is the new album from doom powerhouse Monasterium.
Hailing from Kraków, Poland, Monasterium is an epic doom band that formed in 2014. Up to now they have released two full-length albums, including their self-titled debut in 2016 and Church Of Bones in 2019. Known for grand and sweepingly dramatic doom metal compositions, Monasterium walks the world revealing dark secrets in a shroud of arcane mystery. The band is Michał Strzelecki (vocals), Tomasz Gurgul (guitars), Filip Malinowski (bass), and Maciej Berniak (drums).
There are eight compelling songs on the new album, beginning with “The Stigmatic.” Strzelecki’s voice is the pillar the guitar riffs surround, establishing an emblematic insistence that is returned to frequently throughout the record. The pace is measured and the rhythm is sturdy, granular. It is a bit like a doom version of a combination of Ronnie James Dio and King Diamond, told in a lower tone. “Cimmeria” follows and the pace accelerates. This song puts me in mind of 1980s era dark fantasy metal, reminiscent in some ways of early Fates Warning in its slower tempo moments. Excellent, pushing and surging metal.
“The Great Plague” brings us back to darker times, and structures its composition in a somber theatrical stance. “Seven Swords of Wayland,” on the other hand, has the feel of an adventure tale to it even as it retains a serious menace, rather in the manner of Iron Maiden, you might say, in their extended pieces. And then “Remembered” is completely different, with a sorrowful gentleness and the pervasive worry of loss.
“The Siege” marches out and “Necronomicon” angles the fear of eternal torment toward our visage. The danger seems very real in the listening, and the lead guitar work here is the most compelling so far. The album ends on the title track, the longest and most musically diverse piece of the set. The elements that define the band really come together here, from the solid doom to the elegant lead guitar to the stalwart vocals. This final song closes the curtain with a memorable flourish. Recommended.
Cold Are The Graves is out on Nine Records on Friday, June 10th. Check it out at the links below.
Nine Records, http://shop.nine-records.com/
© Wayne Edwards