|Review: Grim Monolith - Mooncrowned|
Year released: 2008
Genre: Black Metal
Review online: December 31, 2008
Reviewed by: Michel Renaud
Rated 3.75/5 (75%) (8 Votes)
Hailing from Italy, Grim Monolith play a rather old school form of Black Metal, based mostly on the mid-90s Scandinavian style (the more minimalistic bunch of them anyway), but with some more melodic, sometimes symphonic-ish (I really don't want to throw the "symphonic" label at these guys) style that started to kick in earlier this decade. Half-way between raw/atmospheric/melancholic and fast/brutal (with more focus of the former), Mooncrowned showcases quite a bit of variety in its 38 minutes time span, with some very grim and bleak numbers sharing the stage with more "upbeat" songs - "Scupting Eternity" is an outlier here, actually sounding a bit... pop-ish? Very catchy melody with a vibe so positive compared to the rest that it really sticks out, yet somehow manages to fit in with the rest, although you do take notice when it comes on. Every time. Despite a good level of variety, a few songs feel a bit long-ish at times ("Fog Adorned Epitaph" is a bit on the monotonous side), but things never get so bad as to make one want to hit the Stop button.
The vocals are great for the genre - low BM rasps mixed with "screeches" that still sound like they come from beyond the grave are a perfect match for such basic raw Black Metal. Oftentimes I found myself listening more to the vocal work than to the actual music - it's not all BM vocalists that can pull off this "beyond the grave" style and really reach to the listener. Sound-wise this is pretty raw, and personally I find this fits this kind of music much better than, say, an over-polished Abyss-style production. Mooncrowned, like most albums, doesn't bring anything new to the genre but is overall well executed.
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