Monolithe: Epsilon Aurigae

French funeral doom troupe discover the power of paring

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Having completed their, er, ‘quadrilogy’ of albums with 2013’s Monolithe IV, the French funeral doom luminaries are starting a new chapter with the far more originally titled Epsilon Aurigae.

But for any fans concerned that the Parisian septet may have taken this opportunity to express their deep love of ragga or bashment or something, fear not. Epsilon Aurigae represents their most concise and direct album to date – clocking in at ‘only’ 45 minutes, cleaved into three quarter-hour meanders of synths and doom/death dirges.

The almost boundless sonic expanses that characterised the rest of their canon are still prevalent, but in being more economical with their implementation, here Monolithe have greatly improved their effectiveness.

In allowing mid-paced opener Synoecist to resolve itself within the time it takes to make a proper brew, the impact of the oscillation from dis-harmonised guitars to tribal drum patterns is greatly increased. Likewise with the album’s sweeping, orchestrally augmented and epic-reaching closer, Everlasting Sentry.