Monolithe - Okta Khora review




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Reviewer:
8.1

22 users:
8.00
Band: Monolithe
Album: Okta Khora
Release date: November 2019


01. Okta Khora (Part 1)
02. Onset Of The Eighth Cycle
03. Dissonant Occurrence
04. Ignite The Heavens (Part 1)
05. Ignite The Heavens (Part 2)
06. The Great Debacle
07. Disrupted Firmament
08. Okta Khora (Part 2)


The song lengths vary, but the quality remains as reliably great as ever.

Monolithe must exhaust themselves writing songs for each album such that they conform to whatever song length they're going with at the time. After the >50-minute album-length songs of the Monolithe I-IV series, they dropped Epsilon Aurigae and Zeta Reticuli, two albums containing three tracks each, all 15 minutes in length, followed by Nebula Septem, comprised of seven 7-minute songs. On Okta Khora, which was released two months earlier than intended following a leak, each song is either 4 or 8 minutes, and 4 or 8 seconds in length (incidentally, an okta is a measure of cloud cover, on a scale that unsurprisingly maxes out at eight). With the amount of planning that must go into fulfilling these duration criteria, it's impressive that Monolithe remain capable of creating consistently great music, but neither this nor the regularity of the band's output (with this being the band's fourth album in five years) have resulted in any notable decline in the quality of their material, as Okta Khora is another fine addition to their impressive catalogue.

As the songs have gotten shorter, the pace of Monolithe's music has picked up a bit, and the tone has lightened - the plodding extreme doom of Monolithe IV gave way to the mid-tempo symphonic doom of Epsilon Aurigae. Additionally, breaking the albums up has allowed greater diversity in approach, such as the melancholy "Gravity Flood" from Nebula Septem. On Okta Khora, Monolithe continue on their current path; the relentless mid-tempo marching pace of their recent efforts is intact here, as are the dramatic synths and tastefully melancholic-yet-menacing guitar leads (see the opening moments of "Onset Of The Eighth Cycle" for examples of all of these). This song is also a good demonstration of the well-balanced mix on the album, which allows each instrument to shine, such as the bass flourishes during the stripped-down midsection.

As mentioned before, having a greater number of shorter songs does allow Monolithe to display some variety across the album; the next song, "Dissonant Occurrence" opens at a far brisker pace to its predecessor, or indeed most songs by the band. This song then transitions into an unusually funky clean guitar midsection, a nice little demonstration of versatility by a group that appears eager to avoid becoming overly familiar in the aforementioned mid-tempo heavy trudging that dominates a lot of their music to date. At the same time, they're happy to stick with what they know best for large stretches of the record; the relentless punch of a track such as "The Great Debacle" sees Monolithe revelling in the characteristic sound that they have developed and mastered, with huge riffs paired with extensive lead guitar sections and ominous synths.

The novelties that pop up in certain tracks do help differentiate Okta Khora from its predecessors, but the core approach is very recognizably Monolithe; however, when you can pull off a specific sound as well as they do, there's probably no great urgency to make any drastic alterations. It would be nice if there were slightly more substantial differences between their more recent releases, particularly when compared to the differences between these records and the funeral doom of the Monolithe records, or the more industrial-oriented approach on Interlude Second. At the same time, this is another strong entry to a rapidly growing and reliably enjoyable discography.


Rating breakdown
Performance: 8
Songwriting: 8
Originality: 6
Production: 8


 



Written on 17.11.2019 by I'm just a guy with an opinion.


Comments

Comments: 3   Visited by: 89 users
17.11.2019 - 14:05
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
The thing I find most amazing about Monolithe is how they manage to get those exact track lengths, but while listening to the albums themselves it doesn't feel like they force the songs to be shorter or longer to fit that exact runtime.
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Take off those stupid glasses and kiss me
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17.11.2019 - 14:24
musclassia
Written by RaduP on 17.11.2019 at 14:05

The thing I find most amazing about Monolithe is how they manage to get those exact track lengths, but while listening to the albums themselves it doesn't feel like they force the songs to be shorter or longer to fit that exact runtime.


Totally agree, everything feels natural despite having these rigid ideas in place, they must put a lot of work into pacing and structuring the songs so that they all fall sufficiently short of the intended runtime to be able to just stick a few seconds of ambience onto the send to seque into the next track.
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17.11.2019 - 14:29
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by musclassia on 17.11.2019 at 14:24

Totally agree, everything feels natural despite having these rigid ideas in place, they must put a lot of work into pacing and structuring the songs so that they all fall sufficiently short of the intended runtime to be able to just stick a few seconds of ambience onto the send to seque into the next track.

I'm still waiting for an album with fifty one minute songs
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Take off those stupid glasses and kiss me
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