Monolord: Vænir

Swedish doom monoliths still dragging slabs across the desert

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Vænir is the sort of album that the patchouli-scented centre-part at your local record shop will tell you has his mind’s eye seeing multi-hued patterns and leafy green waves.

Which might be somewhat true, but when the less sativa-scarred part of the populace retreat into deeper subconsciousness with Monolord’s second album, what you’ll likely see is amplifiers; walls and walls of amplifiers. And a drumkit being beaten into submission like Ronda Rousey’s training bag. And Sabbath’s first four albums. And The Wounded Kings’ discography.

This Gothenburg trio straddle that hazy slope between oppressive riff-o-rama and shapeless, boulder-dragging drone, which is the mystery of Monolord revealed – how they’re able to transform the potential snoozefest of two beat-per-minute exercises like Cursing The One and Nuclear Death into slices of heart-pounding headbang-ablility.

Thomas Jäger’s reverb-drenched, phoned-in vocals corrode matters as occasional pointed effectiveness gets shot down in a blaze of deliberate anti-brevity, but when Vænir’s thunder rumbles, it rumbles hard./o:p