Monumentum - In Absentia Christi review


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Band: Monumentum
Album: In Absentia Christi
Release date: 1995

01. Battesimo: Nero Opaco
02. A Thousand Breathing Crosses
03. Consuming Jerusalem
04. Fade To Grey [Visage cover]
05. On Perspective Of Spiritual Catharsis
06. Selunhs Aggelos
07. From These Wounds
08. Terra Mater Ofranorum
09. Nephtali
10. La Noia

If there's one band that has had the misfortune to be underappreciated and fall into obscurity in the gothic metal genre, it's the Italian then-metal band Monumentum. This is a total shame because In Absentia Christi is one of a kind and one of the least imitated albums.

By 1995, the gothic metal scene was at its greatest peak, with some of the greatest albums in the genre being released, and Italy was still in its pre-Lacuna Coil days long before it became flooded with vampire-inspired and melodramatic gothic metal bands. Monumentum were among the earliest gothic metal bands to emerge from Italy, having done a split with a then-unknown Rotting Christ before they released their debut album four years later. However, the band's road to their debut album was rocky. The band took a break in 1990 and had not released any material up to that point. In Absentia Christi is an album that many future gothic metal acts should take note of rather than staying safe and sticking to the usual formula.

In Absentia Christi is one of the most musically experimental albums in the genre. Not only is this one of the most atmospheric albums I've ever heard thanks to its influences taken from ethereal wave and gothic rock, but the band is going for a more avant-garde, Middle Eastern-inspired sound. Seriously, the Middle Eastern elements are all over the album from the key progression to the backing vocals and the use of wind instruments. The album is heavy not only through the performance of the guitar, but the keyboards provide heaviness and atmosphere in the music's weighty dynamic. A lot of the ambiance heard throughout the album is incredibly dark, and somewhat minimalistic. I loved how the beginning of "On Perspective Of Spiritual Catharsis" starts unsettlingly, with the sound of a music box setting the tone of the song. Whenever the synth parts are not used, the pianos are used at a minimum, which gives it some depressing unsettling atmosphere apart from the ethereal-inspired keyboards. You will definitely hear a unique combination of influences like Christian Death, Dead Can Dance, and Celtic Frost, and a lot of the music is incredibly unique for the amount of experimentation in this album. The best word to describe this album's music is ominous.

The vocals in In Absentia Christi are also inspired by Christian Death. It's the sound of a guy who is struggling to keep his sanity and a lot of it is really spoken word. It's unsettling and they too follow a more minimalistic approach that doesn't require any of the typical vocals that are often associated with the gothic metal genre. The vocalist's raspy performance is eerie and creates a feeling of spookiness in the already ominous music. The lyrics are free of cheese, poetic and very thought-provoking, leaving a lot of misery for the listener's depressed mind. A lot of the lyrics are a near-perfect unison with the vocals considering how fantastic the diction is.

In Absentia Christi is easily one of the best albums in gothic metal and one of my all-time favorites. This is one of the best examples of a gothic metal band experimenting with different and unconventional styles of music without falling into the same formulaic characteristics that would plague the genre in the next 15 years. I will boldly say that this album deserves a lot of recognition in the same light as the likes of Bloody Kisses, Mandylion, Arcane Rain Fell, and Draconian Times, not just for its one-of-a-kind sound and experimentation, but as one of the earliest gothic metal albums to be released from Italy. Trust me, it's an album you have to hear to believe.

Written by Gothic Metalhead | 30.11.2020


Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.


Comments: 1   Visited by: 24 users
01.12.2020 - 13:17
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Somehow gothic dont work in there, it should have autumn, germany South of scandinavia is best place for gothic band not for one album, but bunch of albums.
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

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