Man I actually can’t remember the last time I reviewed a trad doom album in one of these lists, if I’ve ever done that. It’s nice to hear, I’ve always liked trad doom, even though it’s a relatively dead genre now. And it’s especially good when a band not only plays a lesser known genre, but plays it damn well. Or should I say, “Däng” well. Däng produces a fantastic trad doom epic about the greek monsters of the underworld. The vocals are top notch, giving a more laid back aspect to the music to contrast the heavy tone of the guitars. The guitars synchronize perfectly with the production to create a wonderful atmosphere that’s simultaneously deep and heavy, but relaxed and a bit lazy. The whole album is very subdued while still maintaining a form of epicness. Every time I hear the vocalist sing about the fact that the Hydra’s gon getcha, I feel like while it is a bit cheesy, I can’t help but smile and feel happy that it’s happening. Mönstrum Ex Machina gives a fantastically somber, yet appropriately silly experience that I don’t think I’ve heard before.
And it’s not just the atmosphere. While the elements of ambient sections and story building mini skits help build the ambiance of the album, the actual guitar playing is no slouch either. The soloing is absolutely on point, being of the technical, yet not really shredding variety. It’s very reminiscent of old 70s rock soloing, bringing a sense of nostalgia to the record. Beyond nostalgia just being an inherent aesthetic to trad doom, it makes Mönstrum feel like an album aged with wisdom, as if all of these stories are the tales of an experienced traveler, warning the listener of the horrors of hell. Everything is really summoned up in the final track Minotaur, with the band pulling all the stops to make an epic track, full of great riffage and solos that really sounds like the band was putting their best foot forward, the final warning to those who wish to enter the underworld.
This isn’t the most known album out there (far from it), but I hope that these guys get some attention, because they’re doing a pretty damn unique thing in making really heavy, yet nostalgic and laid back traditional doom metal. And who the hell doesn’t want to hear doom meal about the Cerberus?