"Umbral Vale" tricked me. The album opens like this is your typical doom metal album. It's and epic intro, to be sure. But as someone who tends to bore of this style, my first perusal led me to shut the album off far too soon. So I was a bit miffed when on the second go I stuck around for the Leviathon-era Mastodon crunch of "The Mithriditist." Well hello there. It appears I misjudged you. We can cuddle now. When the drums and groove pick up towards the end of this track, I'm in heaven.
So it goes for Los Angeles band, Behold! The Monolith. With Architects of the Void, this stoner quartet truly step outside of the boundaries of the genre. There are still your doomier affairs, such as the lumbering chords and sustained growls of the title track, but these are mitigated by the energy of "Philosopher's Blade," going half Celtic Frost, half Motorhead. Even "Architects of the Void" takes a sudden left turn in the final third towards a progressive build that is anything but funeral.
One of the thrash riffs on "Between Oder and the Vistula" actually reminded me of Metallica's "Trapped Under Ice," but it is so artfully offset by stoner riffs and blackened tremolos that it feels much more like homage and reworking than stealing. Same goes for the very Iommi hooks on "Lord of Bones." This track is delightfully swampy, but as mentioned before, few go without their speedier moments. It's got some killer solos towards the end as well.
So at base, Behold! The Monolith is still a doom band. But their willingness to mix other classic metal ingredients into their stoner broth is not only admirable, but also something to aspire to. B!TM prove that you can have your cake and eat it too. Added plus, I actually got my s@#t together and purposefully lined this review up with the release date. You should be able to stream and buy it below right now. Some wonderful fuel for your hump day tomorrow. Behold! the weekend is near.