Review Summary: Monotheist is a monument of the dark and despaired. A celebratory ritual of the evil and occult nature of man. A pinnacle of black and doom metal, inhuman to full effect.
In 2006, the mighty Celtic Frost made their barbaric recrudescence unto the metal scene with their sensational, highly anticipated comeback album Monotheist. Though the band broke up a short 2 years after the album was released and presently the public eye is on Tom G's new act Triptykon, whom largely followed the direction Celtic Frost were treading with their last record. However, I find it is within this final CF record that lies to this day the epicenter of musical magic in Warrior's career.
A seasoned Tom G Warrior and Martin Eric Ain were accompanied by Erol Uanala and Franco Sesa on rhythm guitar and drums respectively on this album, (as well as minor songwriting and lyrical contributions, though Ain and Warrior are the true masterminds behind the effort).
From the opening seconds to the pummeling opener 'Progeny' the listener is introduced to the caliginous and twisted nature of the album. Tom G's bludgeoning, cruel vocals carry a definite similitude to his performance on 80s Celtic Frost records, yet are restored and fitting of the band's new energy and wretched atmosphere. The band seizes myriads of opportunities constantly throughout the album to showcase new schemes of musical extremity ranging through a wide range of mystic emotions and archaic and primal obdurateness.
'A Dying God Coming Into Human Flesh' represents one of the album's highlights. Dawning with an otherworldly atmosphere fitted with Martin Eric Ain's cold, lambently, clean vocals, the track morphs into an astonishingly spited, dolorous hymn with vocals possessing the wretched schematics of a living god painfully being dethroned into a pitiful mortal soul lamenting his cataclysmic decry for being burdened with the hopelessness of human flesh. A truly awesome, powerful and grandly original song.
The track 'Obscured' is a scintillating favorite of mine. A true ode to melancholy, the song begins with an aura of pained distorted guitar notes and a memorable ingress of primordial drum patterns. The co-authored lyrics seep into the song, echoing the truest universal pain in man, then, enter the chorus of the song. Flowing with unquestionable emotion and beaming with radiant pain, the lines: "No, no, no, no, and I think that I'm all alone, I can feel the rain pull me down again, and I know that I have no home I can feel the pain take a hold again." Truly a luminous masterpiece portrait of the deepest pain in man; sappy, I'd beg to differ.
The record's climax no doubt has to be the notorious Triptych suite. Featuring the opener, Totengott, a terrifying, ominous piece of dark horror featuring some of the most twisted vocals ever put to record given to us by the great Martin Eric Ain, accompanied with music by Tom Warrior. Eventually ending with the soothing, beauty of the finale, 'Winter' which features a refreshing variety of string instruments not present on most metal albums, the Triptych's focal point belongs to the besieging, blasphemous masterwork: Synagoga Satanae. A 14 minute epic laden with the triumphant roar of the highest might of the band's songwriting ability and metal as a whole. The realm of language does no justice; the primal fury and true decay present here is unspeakable, pushing the emotional capacity of the musical realm in the world of darkness: sick despaired and designed to be worshiped. Eternal hails.
Any other track within the maniacal shackles of this record are intensely worthwhile; Ain Elohim and Domain of Decay are luridly punchy pieces harking back to the barrage of aggression exhibited by Morbid Tales and To Mega Therion, all while making sense in the context of this new Celtic Frost.
The lyrics are nothing less than extravagant. Truly fascinating incites on the dark of man as well as the effect of religion on the human mind and it's consequences to society and history of mankind as a whole. Tom G is a significant epistle writer throughout, but Martin Eric Ain comes through as the main lyricist on Monotheist, an interesting divergence from the Celtic Frost of old. Knowing the history and temperament of these men, without doubt they know and feel what they are talking about.
A masterful craft of music. Truly brilliant and perfectly thought out. It goes without saying any doom or black metal fan is obligated to own this album, if their 80s work wasn't evidence enough Tom and his associates had a vicious tenacity to the extreme and pushing metal's boundaries, then this is. Monotheist is a must listen to any enthusiast of the dark.
Only death is real.