Monarch (band)

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Monarch
Origin Bayonne, France
Genres Drone doom, sludge metal
Years active 2002−present
Labels At A Loss Recordings
Associated acts Dark Castle, Year of No Light, Gasmask Terror
Website [1]
Members Emilie Bresson (aka Eurogirl), Shiran Kaïdine, MicHell Bidegain, Rob Shaffer, Boubi Sablon
Past members Felix Buff, Guillaume Lestage, Stephane Torre-Trueba, Robert Macmanus

Monarch, in the US often written Monarch!, is a French-American drone doom band.

History[edit]

The band was founded in 2002 in Bayonne, France. In 2005, they released their debut, a double CD with three tracks.[1] Since then the band have released new albums almost annually; additionally, they have also released various EPs, singles and splits with Moss, the Grey Daturas and Elysiüm. Monarch have released with various labels, mainly with the Spanish Throne Records and have recently signed with US label At A Loss Recordings that will release their new record, Omens. Monarch have toured frequently outside France; in the beginning of 2010 they played alongside Wolves in the Throne Room in Australia, and 2010/2011 Monarch toured North America, Japan and Australia.

Music[edit]

The band states doom metal and sludge metal bands like Black Sabbath, Noothgrush, Corrupted, Burning Witch and The Melvins as main influences, but emphasizes with the note "but mainly Black Sabbath" the special importance of the classic metal band.[2] Their 2010 album stresses this through its title, "Sabbat Noir", French for Black Sabbath.[3] Eduardo Rivadavia from Allmusic sees their sound as similar to drone metal like Khanate and Rigor Sardonicous, but often harsher.[4] British magazine Rock-A-Rolla considers the band to be rooted in modern doom metal.[3] Monarch have also shown appreciation and claim to be influenced by Norwegian black metal band Darkthrone, and several D-beat bands such as Discharge, Disclose and Aghast;[5] and covered songs by Turbonegro and Discharge, among others.

Concept[edit]

Since their founding the band's concept did not change drastically; guitarist Kaïdine described as follows: "The main idea was to play slow and loud as fuck. We were all playing in fast bands so we wanted to play something very different, something new and challenging for us."[6] Monarch tracks are quite long, roundabout 20 minutes, and to date the longest is the song "Amplifire Death March", which is 58:27 minutes long and was released in 2006 as part of a split. The track length causes the band to release albums almost annually.[3]

Songwriting[edit]

Their songwriting is not systematic, leaving room for random events and improvisation. The interaction with the amplifiers is very important; bassist MicHell states: "The raw material we work with emanates directly from our amps. […] In that sense there’s actually a physical dimension in our songwriting: seeing how the amps will respond differently according to how we position ourselves in front of them to achieve, for example, a more droning effect, or harsher feedback… So we can’t really write a song unless we’re in front of stacks of loud amps.”[3]

The instrumentation is quite minimalistic. Guitarists and bassist are working with amplifiers by Sovtek, Acoustic, Orange, Hiwatt, Sunn and Marshall plus fuzzboxes. The singer uses delay- and reverb-pedals.[6]

Reception[edit]

After the reissue of Mer Morte, Lords Of Metal called the band a "deep black minimalistic, slow, humongous doom monster".[7] Maelstrom called Monarch 2007 in a review of Dead Men Tell No Tales "soon-to-be doom titans", emphasizing the album to be a challenge for every doom metal fan, though "it's worth it, as Monarch! have some fantastic music".[8]

Reviewing the same album, Heathen Harvest states that it by no means bad, but calls Monarch a copycat of pioneering bands like Boris, Pelican, Isis and Khanate.[9] German metal.de called the 2007 album Speak Of The Sea "meaningless drone tracks, which basic idea almost too obviously and thus bold was stolen from Khanate".[10]

Vampster was impressed 2010 by the album Sabbat Noir and Monarch's "undeviating path to dissolve any music into noise" and states that "neither Switchblade nor Black Shape of Nexus, Corrupted, Black Boned Angel, Nadja or Moss deliver more vehement antimusic than Monarch". Beside the band's extremism the reviewer is recognizing something new too: "This is what sludge is going to be, when one keeps moving along way outside drone doom, to try something different. […] The fact is neither drone nor doom can be more extreme without turning to pure noise. Monarch pay tribute to Black Sabbath also by making earth shaking music and in trying something new with a lot of courage and a portion of madness not to underrate […]".[11]

Village Voice called a New York concert in November 2010 "a focused, intense performance, utterly lacking the catharsis that's metal's usual stock-in-trade".[12]

Discography (selected)[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Labelwebsite on heathenskulls.com: Monarch « Heathen Skulls, accessed March 2, 2011
  2. ^ Bandwebsite on myspace.com: MONARCH!, accessed March 2, 2011
  3. ^ a b c d Monarch Interview in: Rock-a-Rolla, No. 27, September 2010, rock-a-rolla.com » Online; accessed March 2, 2011
  4. ^ allmusic.com: Monarch! at AllMusic, accessed March 2, 2011
  5. ^ https://www.facebook.com/pages/Monarch/121146434822?sk=info
  6. ^ a b Robyn Morrison: Make way for the Monarch procession In: Sludge Factory, February 24, 2011; accessed March 2, 2011
  7. ^ Erik Heylen: Review on lordsofmetal.nl: Lords Of Metal metal E-zine; accessed March 2, 2011
  8. ^ Review on maelstrom.nu: Album Review MONARCH!-Dead Men Tell No Tales :: Maelstrom :: Issue No 54; accessed March, 6, 2011
  9. ^ Review on hh.heathenhideout.com: Heathen Harvest - Reviews: Monarch - Dead Men Tell No Tales (2CD); accessed March, 6, 2011
  10. ^ Review on metal.de: Monarch (FR) - Speak Of The Sea - CD-Review bei metal.de; accessed March, 6, 2011
  11. ^ Review on vampster.com: Monarch: Sabbat Noir [12\"-LP]. CD-Review @ vampster.com webzine - heavy metal online web magazin; accessed March, 6, 2011
  12. ^ Concert review on blogs.villagevoice.com: Phil Freeman: Live: Doom-Metal Crew Monarch Lead A Violent Ladies'-Night Spectacular At Cake Shop - New York Music - Sound of the City, November 15, 2010; accessed March, 6, 2011
  13. ^ Monarch Reveals New Album "Omens" Details

External links[edit]