Nov 17, 2012

Monads - "Intellectus Iudicat Veritatem" ...

Monads first released 'Intellectus Iudicat Veritatem' as a demo in 2011 but has recently been given the digipak treatment by the Ordo MCM label. The band with its name inspired by Mournful Congregation's 'The Monad Of Creation has more in common with that band than just a name. This is funeral doom, death doom, trad doom, black doom with a slightly old-school approach which makes me think this could have come out 20 years ago. If there was a blueprint of how to make doom metal, then I guess this band would make a good reference point. This 5 track demo, now an fully fledged full length release is a crushing dose of doom but with detours of ambience and melodicism while also injecting chaotic inflections of black metal into the mix to keep it interesting. Fans of Esoteric, Mournful Congregation, Evoken and Ahab will surely want to investigate this band from Belgium who despite their generic old-school ways know how to make classic doom metal. Now some doom is slow, tedious and instantly forgettable. As doom fans we have to admit at its worse doom can be a boring musical affair if the music has no imagination. Monads can never be accused of that, this is an instantly enjoyable doom metal album that has something special going for it. Indeed despite the band wearing their influences on their collective sleeves, every song on this album is spine-chilling, atmospheric and memorable.

'The Stars Are Screaming' kicks off 'Intellectus Iudicat Veritatem' with a brutal mix of funeral doom and black metal influenced doom. It is one part disturbing and an alarming slice of punishing doom but it is also kind of beautiful with moments of well-crafted melody and ambience. The more you listen to tracks like this, the more depth is revealed within its grooves. The band could never be accused of being "prog rock" but these tracks are quite involved in their own way. 'Broken Gates To Nowhere' is also in that vein. A devastating blend of black metal, funeral and death doom with hints of melodic metal and post rock ambience. Elements of the tracks have a Neurosis vibe about them but this band could be never be tagged as "post rock." The blend of styles, tempos and feels makes this a colorful listening experience that never loses sight of what makes a good melodic doom track. The next track 'Within The Circle Of Seraphs' is a major highlight with a great blend of crushing riffing and simple but effective melodies and while it has a black metal edge, it teaches the corpse-painted folks a thing or two about what good songwriting is all about.

'The Obsolete Presence' is more crushing doom riffage but with a unique, unconventional approach. The riffs are simple enough but are not your obvious doom riffs and that is what pricks up your ears and makes this addictive listening. Another very good track closes the album; 'Absent As In These Veins' which so heavy it can make your head spin in delight. Monads are not exactly ground-breaking but they are damn good at blending black metal with doom metal and making it seem like a natural, seamless musical approach. The band members all come from a black metal background and maybe that gives them a flair for the blending of styles. However the album is not without its flaws. At times it all seems a little recycled and if you are a fan of Mournful Congregation, Esoteric, Aldebaran, Ocean, Ataraxie and Ahab this band could seem like a clone of those bands but good doom is good doom and every track on this album is memorable in its own way. It also has the added benefit of always switching directions so even though four out of the five tracks past the 10 minute mark, the band seem to draw a straight line through all of the songs. 'Intellectus Iudicat Veritatem' is already an underrated gem in the doom scene because it has already been released as a demo but now with the digipak release, that status can be erased and it can finally be given the kudos it deserves.....8.5/10.

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