Thursday 29 October 2020


Argentinian four piece Monje are a heavy doom band, in fact they are VERY heavy doom band, you could even go as far as saying they are a VERY heavy doom band with a blackened metal edge. Ok we are getting a little silly now but we are sure you are coming to the understanding that what you are about to hear, via the grooves of the bands second album "Druga Dimenzija", is not going to be some heady cosmic tiptoe through the tulips but more like a brutal forced march through poison ivy!

The swollen sound of a church organ heralds in first track "Escape" and is then joined by spoken narrative telling a tale of one unfortunate souls hopes and intentions of escaping from a dimension renowned for its torture, misery and bloodshed. Eerie and with a strong gothic feel it sounds like very much like something that might serve as the preface to an Edgar Allen Poe short story. Monje follow this cinematic opener with "O.I.D." a song that sees the whole band coming together on a groove that is driven by some truly impressive drumming and growling bass work from Daniel Iranzo and Guido Soldini that is then decorated, by vocalist James Wright, in a mixture of gutteral growls and clean Gregorian-like chants, guitarist Diego Petullo putting the finishing touches to the songs doomic groove with crunching low slung refrains and swirling dank dark solos. "Lágrimas de sangre" looms over the horizon next and finds Wright liturgizing in monastic tones (sang in Spanish) over a  doomic refrain fractured by sudden eruptions into a more blackened metal dynamic with Wright following suite, on these occasions, with an equally blackened vocal. Up next is "Kneel Before Her", a song that showcases everything good about Monje, the band mixing and blending different metallic styles together like a painter might mix colours on his palette, elements of stoner, sludge, doom and black metal merging together around a strong constantly shifting vocal underscored by some seriously powerful percussion. The church organ makes its return for instrumental "Dimenzija" then its back to the doom with "La vita é inferno" a supercharged doomic tour-de-force that sees guitarist Petullo wrestling the spotlight away from Wright's array of vocal stylings with the sheer dark crunchiness of his chord progressions and the quality of his brief but effective solos. The band finish with "La huerta de Lucifer" a powerful final salvo of brutal doom that brings together everything that has gone before on this album and then takes it to a whole new level of hugeness.  

There were moments when listening to Monje's "Druga Dimenzija" that Desert Psychlist was reminded of Sweden's Ordos, that same feeling of listening to a a band that have one foot dangling in the murky pool of extreme metal and the other dipped into more traditional waters, a band that could easily fall either way but are happy to stay precariously balanced between the two.
Check 'em out ....  

© 2020 Frazer Jones

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