Sat 12th May 2007
Gosh, I'd love to live in Bayonne, France. Apparently a small little town, Bayonne has spawned in the past five years two of French alternative music's finest exports: post-metallers Year Of No Light, and extreme doom nasties Monarch!
Monarch! are one of my favourite doom bands. Simply because they're very productive (means your not waiting years for one new track) and they actually have a sense of humour. For example, anyone visiting their Myspace will find that their Biography has been replaced by an absolutely crushing review of their new album. This new album in fact which is called 'Die Tonight'.
Consisting of two monstrous songs - 'Winter Bride' crawling at 19:28, and Swan Song muscling in at 19:30 - 'Die Tonight' is another demanding doom release. Fans of Corrupted, Noothgrush, and obvious reference point, Khanate, take note. If you're not into long feedback, plodding chords, and silence than this probably isn't for you.
Having a woman screamer/singer, adds a nice new twist to the Monarch! experience. Emilie puts her best vocal performance to date on this slab of vinyl (yes, forgot to mention, this is only available on vinyl - limited to the Devil's number baby). My only worry for Monarch! was that over their past releases, they hadn't moved on in sound as much as I'd hoped. Khanate releases DO change in sound and concept in my opinion, whereas Monarch!'s back catalogue left something to be desired in terms of depth and versatility.
With 'Die Tonight' the quartet have finally pushed through this small problem. The semi-sung whispers and breathing into the mic add a wonderful extra twist vocally, whilst musically they have become a little more sparse and extreme, and are the band in my opinion who might fill Khanate's vasty shoes. Only time will tell.