Too many approval-stampers are content to shovel anything slow, synth-shrouded and packed with molasses-dark death growls into a funeral doom-shaped hole in the earth. One self-important windbag (the one in charge of this Deciblog post) would suggest that “funeral doom” must actually beckon from the grave and whisper oh-so-reasonably that bathing with sharp objects is the last sane course of action. French slog-sters Monolithe call from a more distant, calculated casket – the type with precise and mathematically significant dimensions. Without stooping to retell the tale that Clarke and Kubrick cooked up in 1968, Sylvain Bégot and friends reimagine the symbolism of consciousness and metaphysical sentience embedded in the perfect prism, through their own rich metal-infused story.
Now, Decibel (by way of Debemur Morti’s excellent Bandcamp portal) bring you the final movement in Monolithe’s long journey. Some will see the one track’s 57-minute runtime as a warning; others know that it’s an invitation, to join an intriguing 21st century band on the last steps of a fantastic voyage. Continue below the Play button to read Bégot’s parting words to this stage in his musical adventure.
Now that you’ve completed the Monolithe cycle: how did you enjoy the journey?
It has a been a nice ride so far; the way MONOLITHE developed from a concept, an idea to what it is now is great, even though we remain an underground band.
There was a lengthy gap between releases for the Monolithe project about mid-way through. Can you tell us about what was going on during that time? Did the time lapse (and your activities during that time) have an effect on the later Monolithe recordings?
Yes there was a gap between the releases of the band’s two EPs, INTERLUDE PREMIER (2007) and INTERLUDE SECOND (2012) during which MONOLITHE was on hold. There are a few reasons for that; One of them is that Candlelight, which was our label at the time, was behaving incredibly badly with no respect whatsoever for us (one release was cancelled a few weeks before what was planned + they never paid any royalty) so that slowed us down and sucked our motivation out. Another reason is that the record that was supposed to be MONOLITHE III at the time (but ended up being INTERLUDE SECOND) has been stuck in the mixing process for so long that I almost gave it up because I lost interest in it, as well as MONOLITHE as a whole. One last reason is that I had some changes in my life, which lead me to leave the music world for a while because I simply wasn’t interested anymore at that point. I came back with renewed interest and motivation in early 2012.
The time lapse did have an effect on later Monolithe records; I had much to express because I didn’t write any music for almost 5 years. MONOLITHE III and MONOLITHE IV were not written together, but both in 2012, during the same wave of creativity.
You mentioned before that you have developed an interest in traditional Middle Eastern music. Has any of that music influenced your work with Monolithe? Do you foresee it having an impact on music you make in the future?
Well yes that’s true, I think that this music is very interesting. It’s very rich, layered and hypnotizing. Even very popular, almost “commercial” music can sometimes have great artistic value. I [am not talking] about that middle-eastern electro-pop crap but about music such as Mohammed Abdu’s: really traditional with a full orchestra or simply one or two old instruments. I wouldn’t say it has influenced me that much, simply because it’s too different from what I do. It’s not a George Harrison kind of thing. But it has at least influenced the classical eastern part in the middle of the MONOLITHE IV album, which has an obvious oriental feel to it. Will it have an impact on my music in the future? Honestly I don’t think so. But why not? Led Zeppelin (with Kashmir) and Killing Joke (with a lot of songs), among a few other artists, have proven that rock or metal are getting along very well with that kind of music.
As you explored music and "sentience" through your work with Monolithe, do you think you've uncovered truths for yourself beyond what you felt before creating this music?
Not really. MONOLITHE is a medium to express certain things through some sort of story. Those things are not meant to be “truths”, they’re mostly thoughts that I’ve been having for a long time. They have not changed since the beginning of the band.
How was recording III and IV different from earlier sessions?
Now if we need to buy something or hire someone, we just pay for it and get it done professionally. We also take our time; we don’t usually get into the studio more than once or twice a week.
And newer fans are getting the opportunity to dig backward into the first half of the Monolithe catalogue?
MONOLITHE’s back catalogue is being reissued with brand new amazing artwork and new mastering. Our debut album MONOLITHE I [was] reissued in August. The sophomore [record], MONOLITHE II, will also get revamped and released in late 2013 or early 2014. And the last scheduled release is a compilation called MONOLITHE ZERO featuring our two EPs as well as two cover songs, one from Skepticism and one never released before. And of course check out MONOLITHE IV, this one is a hell of an album.