Monolithe's second album, Monolithe II, is not recommended to those who are plagued by short attention spans. This 50-minute CD is comprised of one extended piece, which is also titled "Monolithe II" and successfully brings together elements of doom metal, gothic metal, death metal and progressive rock -- an unlikely combination, certainly, but one that works well for this French band. In terms of influences, Monolithe is very far-reaching. One hears an appreciation of My Dying Bride, Paradise Lost and Black Sabbath (a band that is considered essential listening in the doom metal/stoner rock field), but "Monolithe II" also has some of Neurosis' atmospherics and gets a lot of inspiration from Pink Floyd -- and the vocals favor the type of deep, guttural growl that death metal is known for. Of course, any piece that is stretched out for 50 minutes had better be interesting; "Monolithe II" is interesting -- at least if one has a taste for music that is very dark, moody, and ominous. "Monolithe II" is definitely not a cheerful piece of music; from My Dying Bride's '90s recordings to Ozzy Osbourne-era Sabbath to the most foreboding parts of Pink Floyd classics like Dark Side of the Moon and Wish You Were Here, Monolithe clearly gets their inspiration from the darker side of rock. Happy, upbeat escapism? You won't find it here. What you will find is a band that, although heavy and aggressive, is also intricate, melodic and highly musical. This CD is never an exercise in bombast for the sake of bombast; Monolithe's sophomore album is thinking man's metal, and the disc is recommended to headbangers who aren't intimidated by a little complexity.
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