A Votive Offering is the latest E.P from young metal purveyors Monolith. Kindly given away free by the band, the twelve minute track, divided into four parts, should be avoided by those with a weak disposition or anyone who doesn’t posses an overt fondness for pulverizing, unforgiving beatdowns or caustic, intensely aggravated vocals.
For anyone unfamiliar with Monolith, the band specialises in a brand of devilishly heavy hardcore, incorporating off-kilter riffs delivered with an unrestrained anger Vinnie Jones could only dream of. Their debut E.P- I, Misanthrope was an exercise in sheer aural brutality, but with their latest release the band have upped their game across the board, although any wholehearted concept of subtlety remains defiantly absent. What’s instantly palpable is that the Meshuggah influence has been dragged to the forefront, with riffs eschewing Fredrik Thordendal’s enduring legacy of convoluted mathematically precise metal, which rains down relentlessly. The constant terror allows little breathing space for the listener in lieu of an unremittingly intense listening experience. The opening wall of foreboding feedback and the scene setting sample provide one of the few respites from the bludgeoning assault, providing a sinister backdrop to the fierce cacophony from which there appears to be no salvation. Techy as it may be, the band are well aware of the power that simplicity can provide. Several times they drop into more straightforward but no less aggressive moments of brutality to keep those with a penchant for hurling themselves round the pit satisfied. Some highly inventive drum work fires off complex poly-rhythmic blasts, using every inch of the kit whilst remaining impeccably tight. Vocals growl unremittingly and it is an object of wonder as to how the vocalists throat can withstand such a battering without being torn apart by the sheer force with which every line of lyrics are delivered.
A Votive Offering is a record that hovers eagerly on musical boundaries, facing uncharted waters which the band has more than demonstrated they have the ability to explore and warp to their own twisted liking. The sheer level of musical competency and progressive intuitions belies the band’s short lifespan as well as the young age of the members themselves. If, with only their second release, Monolith are making music so tantalizingly complex and powerful, then at this point their potential knows no bounds.
4.5 out of 5 high fives!