Dutch doom lords Onhou further the devastation with their second long-player, Monument.
Onhou came together in Groningen, Netherlands in 2016. They play sludge and doom metal accentuated with synth auras. They loosed a self-titled EP on the world in 2018, and then their debut full-length album, Endling, in 2019. Somber, cold, and devastating, Onhou’s music demands your attention. According to the Metal Archives, the band is Henk (bass), Arnold (drums), Alex (guitar), and Florian (keys).
There are four long tracks on the new album. First is “When On High.” It starts with heaving guitar indulgences, adding in growling vocals atop the monstrous rhythm. The keys show up later in prominence, slicing like heavy, sharp swords. Moments of reflection are howls in the void. “Null” is more veiled in its threat, more sinister in its tone. Like a lurking monster on the edge of the shadows, impossibly large and unstoppable. Death and black metal vocals are echoing insinuations that are realizable in any given present. In the release notes, this remark is made: “Whereas the band intended for their debut to be uncomfortable, Monument drags you ever deeper into dark, withering worlds where time is gruesome and unforgiving, and the echoes of what once was have long since been lost and forgotten.” You feel that deeply on “Null.”
Side two opens with “Below.” When the music begins, you strain to listen. As it grows and builds so does your apprehension. The music is claustrophobic, dungeon-like. The doom guitar riffs drop at about the two minute mark and all hope is lost. The vocals are torturous, sometimes disembodied. Disturbing is not a strong enough word to describe this music. The set ends on “Ruins.” The feeling of a lost ancient place is palpable as the music surrounds you. You are in a spot that was devastated in the past by you know not what. The worry is: has it gone? The composition is some of the most haunting music I have heard in a great long while. Indeed, the entire album is an unforgettable experience. Highly recommended.
Monument is out on Friday, December 9th through a joint venture between Lay Bare Records and Tartarus Records. In the US, Bandcamp is the place to get it.
Band photo by Richard Postma.
Tartarus Records, https://shop.tartarusrecords.com/
Lay Bare Recordings, https://laybarerecordings.com/
© Wayne Edwards