Review Summary: This one man Canadian project manages to make standard fare black metal actually sound good
Monarque is one of the hundreds (see thousands) of Canadian black metal bands to come out of the province of Quebec trying to have his name mentioned in the same leagues as greats like Forteresse, Sombres Forets and Gris. Unfortunately, Monarque has only one of two things that made these bands as powerful sounding as they are.
The music itself on Ad Nauseam is pretty standard. A thick layer of fuzz coats the backdrop of the sound as melodic tremolo picking weaves its way over it in order to create the main riffs to the songs. Throw in some tastefully used keys in the backdrop and the standard high pitched screaming and you have Monarque (and a countless amount of other black metal bands).
However where Monarque does manage to stand out is by the way he plays the standard fare a lot better than average and manages to pull it off sounding passionate about what he is doing. Ad Nauseam does not sound like oh so many one man basement projects where the artist drowns everything in distortion to hide the fact that he can’t play for ***. Monarque can indeed play and definitely does not try to hide it. He pumps just enough distortion into his music to allow it to retain the atmospheric quality one looks for in black metal but while also retaining a fair amount of clarity in his tremolo picking allowing the songs to stand out from each other easily. On top of that each song advances steadily with a strong driving pace that when combined to the relatively emotional sounding (for black metal anyway) vocals manage to make this would-be failure into an enjoyable experience for any fan of the genre.
So although not quite being able to rank himself among the big names in Canadian black metal yet, Monarque shows promise on his second full length that abodes well for his future. Managing to make the standard black metal sound this enjoyable after it has been done to the point of oversaturation takes talent and passion. If he were to put both these elements combined with a little more effort of breaking the mold he is in, then Monarque might very well have a classic on the way next.