Monarch! – Sabbracadaver (Profound Lore)

Tuesday, 9th September 2014
Rating: 8.5/10

If you find yourself removed from the pales of life and given to the suffocating dark surrounded by all your sins and failures, there’s a good chances that Monarch! will be seething from the neighboring void. A nihilistic French response to the walls-‘-drone of SUNN O))) and arguably more subversive due to the presence of everywhere/all things female vocals, Sabbracadaver is a monstrous (literally and figuratively) piece of work, a tour through the places where happiness never was and pestilent guilt is all that ever is.

The album is esoteric-like in that there are only three tracks and together they stretch more than 45 minutes, every step meticulous and torturous in equal measure. The highlight is the shorter (10 minute) mid-piece ‘Louves’, with its lethargic throb, memories of melody dispersed as distant stars against the otherwise overwhelming black that constitutes the body of the work. Whether instrumentally or vocally, those fleeting moments of melody that peek through the murk are surprisingly devastating, instead of providing means of relief from the distortion, give it starker gravity and malevolence.

The opener and closer each feature similar themes to the mid-piece though are punctuated and executed with more exacting means, each running significantly longer and with substantially more vocal exposition (be it choral, croon, or the cries of the maniacal). Drone fans will be most at home in this despair-laden piece of work though as The Body is a fair point of reference at times (thematically though not vocally), others are apt to find much here to love as well. Distant, baleful, without hope. All appropriate and all consuming. This is the void.

Monarch! on Facebook