Sound: 'Brutal death metal' is not as interesting a term as it once was. In fact, if you head to your friendly neighbourhood networking site Myspace and ask about brutal music, within a matter of minutes you will be assaulted by barrages of chugs, squeals and hair-care products. In times when brutal death metal can mean anything from Decrepit Birth to Enter Shikari, we should all be thankful that there are bands like The Monolith Deathcult out there. Hailing from Holland, TMDC sure know how to make music that could be compared to being slammed in the face by a double-decker bus. Their last two albums, 'The Apotheosis' and 'The White Crematorium' are masterclasses in clinical brutality. However, if they are comparable to being hit by a bus, 'Trivmvirate' could be compared to being spear-headed by a Boeing 747 mid-flight. While it still has that massively intense death metal leaning, 'Trivmvirate' has taken it to such an epic scale that I feel a flight across the world on the end of a plane is the only analogy that does it justice.
The way that these guys manage to get such a huge sound from what is quite a niche-filled genre is through heavy use of electronics and synthesisers. While this is not the first time that this idea has been touched upon, the seamless integration between these two extremes is truly astonishing. From blastbeats to choir chants, everything about 'Trivmvirate' just oozes with professionalism in songwriting and recording. There is not a minute where nothing new grabs your attention, and with every new development you think now that was cool. While some may say that some of the synth parts can feel tacked on, I don't think there is anything that is overdone, even when combining 'symphonic' metal and brutal death metal, two genres that are flooded with lifeless and tiresomely pretentious bands as of late. There are really very few faults on this album, everything from the guitar tone to the drumming are executed with class and precision. The production is absolutely vital in making this album really stand out from leagues of imitators. Along with the aforementioned electronics, the mix of this album breathes fresh air into a tired sound. // 10
Lyrics: With a name like 'The Monolith Deathcult', something grand is expected lyrically, and the themes of 'Trivmvirate' do not disappoint. The strong vocals feel like war cries describing many different historical and mythological events, which can get the listener embarrassingly pumped up for events that happened thousands of years ago. Though there is an air of pompousness in these words, they are written well and match the monolithic (ahem) atmosphere of the music through storytelling reminiscent of Bal-Sagoth, involving gripping tales of Topzawa holocaust and Rex Ivdaeorvm. Though I may not have a clue what they're talking about half the time, it sure feels important and that alone puts it miles above most death metal lyrics. // 9
Overall Impression: 'Trivmvirate' is a masterful work, filled with killer riffs, quality vocal lines and a fair dosage of drum & bass/trance music. It is hard to choose highlights as they all kick considerable amounts of ass, but the opening 'Deus Ex Machina', closing 'Den Ensomme Nordens Dronning' and midway interlude 'M.M.F.D.' are those that left my jaw attached to the floor for the longest time periods. Death metal fans will love this, and I daresay even an old-school purist could enjoy it. This is modern death metal at it's finest, and in an ocean of identical bands, The Monolith Deathcult emerges from the water as a colossal force to be reckoned with. // 10
- Duncan Geddes aka duncang (c) 2008