Grim Monolith - _Mooncrowned_
(Independent, 2008)
by: Charlotte Beskeen (5 out of 10)
If the organic burr of Norwegian cut black metal sets your pulse racing, then this is sure to be an instant pleaser. This is pretty much straight up, no nonsense minimalist black metal; the type that conjures images of vast frozen wastelands and permafrost coated winters. All in all, this is a fairly reasonable second album for Grim Monolith, yet disappointingly, there is nothing particularly original about _Mooncrowned_. The huge platter of Norwegian BM influences are so easily discernible that many sections of riffage sound like cut and paste chunks of Striborg and late Ragnarok mixed with Kampfar's most recent material. Yet despite the various sketchy imitation riffs scattered liberally over _Mooncrowned_, there are glimmers of originality in the few interludes of icily depressing guitar solos on "...Of Titanism and Solitude" and "...In Faerylands Forlorn". These seem genuinely haunting: sorrowful guitar lines ebb and flow, occasionally giving way to doom filled, pregnant pauses. It comes as no surprise, therefore, that these rare lulls are more successful in dragging the listener into a desired wintry vortex than the slabs of bleakly unoriginal riffage to be found on most tracks on the album. I'm convinced that the band's real originality lies in these deliciously dank and dripping passages. If only these were fleshed out more and celebrated for all their melancholic worth, then this would have deserved a more promising review.


(article published 3/12/2008)

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