After successfully overcoming the dreaded 'third album syndrome' with 2017's excellent 'Rust', Sweden's doom metal trio Monolord are back and ready to down-tune and rock out with their latest effort, 'No Comfort'. Continuing the pattern established with their last two full-length releases, Monolord hereby present another six slabs of monumental riffage and doomy goodness, but with a few twists added in for good measure. Old fans might come to the table thinking they know what to expect, but there are some surprises here that show a progression and maturing of the band as they build on what they've achieved so far and tread some new ground, hopefully gaining some new fans without alienating those who have been with them since Empress Rising and Vaenir.
The album gets off to a start with the almost ten minute long “The Bastard Son”. It's quickly apparently that this is still the same Monolord we know and love with their stoner-doom guitars, rhythmic drums and understated vocal approach.
“The Last Leaf” kicks the tempo up a bit with something shorter and punchier, topped off with some sublime lead guitar work.
Third track, “Larvae” slows things right down again with nine minutes of sorrowful, downbeat doom metal, brooding, menacing and ominous.
“Skywards” provides a jolt of aural caffeine, speeding things up again and grooving along with its bouncing rhythm guitar.
Penultimate track “Alone Together” presents Monolord at their most raw, stripped back and restrained they've ever been with its acoustic opening bars and heartfelt vocals. This is the Monolord we know, but revealing a new side to themselves.
Album closer and titular track “No Comfort” is the longest of the lot, clocking in at a tad shy of eleven minutes, closing the album out with its melancholic guitars and haunting near-silent moments midway through. This is a real stand-out track that marks the band's progression into newer, less explored territory, and a fitting end to this really great mix of new and old Monolord that shows big promise for the future of the band.
What we have here is a Monolord who have grown up and mellowed out a little, but retain the intensity and power of their back catalogue. With matured songwriting, they have given their material a little room to breathe, providing some space for reflection between the pounding drums and thrumming guitars. Monolord are back and better than ever, and we can take some comfort in that at least.