Monarch!

Die Tonight

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Die Tonight Review

by Eduardo Rivadavia

Bayonne, France's Monarch! bring an entirely new meaning to Basque terrorism with their third long-playing assault, 2007's suitably named Die Tonight, which once again features two drawn-out doom/sludge fests for each vinyl side of its original, 666-unit pressing. Luckily, and quite ironically as well, the uncompromising aural abusers have finally broken through a new crust of inspiration where their songwriting is concerned, making it possible to come away from both of these near-20-minute endurance tests with some immediate (if disturbing) recollections; rather than vague memories of scattered feedback and shapeless riffs and rhythms. This is due, in large part, to the newfound emotion fueling the terrifying screams and croaks of frontwoman Emilie Bresson, who achieves new levels of misanthropy on the apocalyptic "Swan Song" and vents unfathomable depths of progesterone rage through the left-at-the-altar story of "Winter Bride." In the end, sitting through these viscous slabs of creeping seismic activity still equates to breast-stroking one's way through the La Brea Tar Pits; but at least one now feels that Bresson and her charges are living, breathing organisms also treading sludge, instead of rotting corpses merely stinking up the joint.