Monarch Omens

Omens is a three-song slab of droning doom metal from French-American soul-crushers Monarch. The band have led a very prolific career since they were founded in 2002, with seven full-length albums, one EP and a split with Elysiüm to date. They recently added Dark Castle drummer Rob Shaffer to their line-up and the partnership looks to be bearing fruit, as the percussion on Omens is dynamic and complex, by turns muscular and full or hollow and eerie. There's no doubt that this is a haunting album, designed to unsettle and terrify the listener as much as to grind them to pulp beneath the weight of an avalanche of doom riffs. Emilie Bresson's shrieks and wails evoke the clawing of a wretched, restless ghost. The production is lush and complex, at once giving Shiran Kaidin's guitars and MicHell Bidegain's bass a thick, liquid rubber texture while creating a knocking, angry, hollow space for Shaffer's drums and Bresson's devastated voice to rattle around in. While the pace often drags itself along like a wounded thing, there's no mistaking the fact that this collection of musicians are capable of nimbleness and subtlety. This is an excellent exercise in aural horror. (At A Loss)