Monarch (band)

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Droneberg Berlin Monarch Apr 16 2015 92.jpg
Monarch! live in Berlin in 2015
Background information
OriginBayonne, France
Years active2002−present
MembersEmilie "Eurogirl" Bresson
Shiran Kaïdine
MicHell Bidegain
Boubi Sablon
Stéphane Miollan
Past membersFelix Buff
Guillaume Lestage
Stephane Torre-Trueba
Robert Macmanus
Rob Shaffer

Monarch (in the U.S. often stylised Monarch!) is a French doom metal band from Bayonne, formed in 2002.


The band was formed 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.


The band states doom metal and sludge metal bands like 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.


Emilie Bresson, Berlin 2015

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]


Robert MacManus & MicHell Bidegain, Berlin 2015

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]


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 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]



Studio albums

666 track list[edit]

Disc 1

1."Dead Men Tell No Tales"14:09
2."Somewhere Below the Devil is Laughing"36:38
Total length:50:47

Disc 2

1."Les "lumières" Have Been Blown Out"35:15
Total length:35:15

Speak of the Sea track list[edit]

Side one

1."We Are the Musicmakers"20:40
Total length:20:40

Disc 2

2."Speak of the Devil, Speak of the Sea"18:00
Total length:18:00


  1. ^ Labelwebsite on Monarch « Heathen Skulls Archived 2011-02-25 at the Wayback Machine, accessed March 2, 2011
  2. ^ Bandwebsite on MONARCH!, accessed March 2, 2011
  3. ^ a b c d Monarch Interview in: Rock-a-Rolla, No. 27, September 2010, » Online; accessed March 2, 2011
  4. ^ Monarch! at AllMusic, accessed March 2, 2011
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b Robyn Morrison: Make way for the Monarch procession In: Sludge Factory Archived 2011-02-27 at the Wayback Machine, February 24, 2011; accessed March 2, 2011
  7. ^ Erik Heylen: Review on Lords Of Metal metal E-zine; accessed March 2, 2011
  8. ^ Review on Album Review MONARCH!-Dead Men Tell No Tales :: Maelstrom :: Issue No 54 Archived 2011-07-24 at the Wayback Machine; accessed March 6, 2011
  9. ^ Review on Heathen Harvest - Reviews: Monarch - Dead Men Tell No Tales (2CD); accessed March 6, 2011
  10. ^ Review on Monarch (FR) - Speak Of The Sea - CD-Review bei; accessed March 6, 2011
  11. ^ Review on Monarch: Sabbat Noir [12\"-LP]. CD-Review @ webzine - heavy metal online web magazin; accessed March 6, 2011
  12. ^ Concert review on Phil Freeman: Live: Doom-Metal Crew Monarch Lead A Violent Ladies'-Night Spectacular At Cake Shop - New York Music - Sound of the City Archived 2010-11-19 at the Wayback Machine, November 15, 2010; accessed March 6, 2011
  13. ^ Monarch Reveals New Album "Omens" Details

External links[edit]