ALBUM REVIEW: The Monolith Deathcult – The Demon Who Makes Trophies Of Men

Avant-Garde Death Metal mentallers with serious swagger and a slew of crazed ideas, Netherlands-based wild bunch The Monolith Deathcult are back.

The Demon Who Makes Trophies Of Men (Human Detonator Records) is an imaginative, irreverent slice of noise that screams “Attack! Attack! Attack!” for much of its grim, punishing but seriously rewarding running time.

It’s never boring, a multi-layered, Progressive, industrialised mash-up, part pastiche, and close to parody.

Employing regular snatches of the Deathcult’s familiar spoken words, and longer streams of narration, the whole thing comes across as a somewhat mischievous attempt at a narrative sci-fi opus – Jeff Wayne’s Musical Version Of The War Of The Worlds, anyone? – imagined and reimagined by dementedly fertile minds packed with encyclopaedic knowledge of music and film.

All that plus exploding bladders, rampant paranoia, total annihilation, and a recognisable helping of Rammstein thrown in.

Does the pastiche and parody make them The Rutles (or even Spinal Tap) of Progressive Death Metal? The tactic of frequently reworking previously released tracks and offering up differing versions of the same songs – are they Laibach?

Some of the more experimental, avant-garde elements of Deathcult remind me of Glasgow’s own Ashenspire, deserving of so much more attention. So, are they Ashenspire?

No, they’re not The Rutles or Spinal Tap, or Laibach, or Ashenspire – they are The Monolith Deathcult. Take it or leave it.

The title track sets the scene, riffing its way headlong towards a death growl fest and bursts of the symphonics, keyboards to the fore, a mad, merciless mixture that somehow works.

“Kindertodeslied MMXXIV”, a reworking of a track reportedly based on the 2004 World War II-centered film Der Untergang (Downfall), is a futuristic melange of warblings, burblings, and drumming mayhem.

The seven-minute-and-fifteen-second-long symphonic epic “Gogmagog – The Bryansk Forest Re-Visited” – with its dramatic and regular “ROUND ONE … ROUND TWO … ROUND THREE …” announcements – represents the Deathcult modus operandi in a perhaps more straight-ahead form, relentless but refreshing, ultimately transforming.

The mosh-pit madness of “Matador” (also known as “Matadorrrrr”?) has an ominous, droning sense of mayhem about it, with lyrics that paint a picture: “All troops, fire at will … Blast-wave, flying shrapnel … Inbound … Pre-emptive strike … Fail safe … Cockroaches smile …”

These dudes seem to believe in images of intensely physical, beautifully kinetic violence, like a Frank Frazetta painting brought to “life” … preferably on Mars … or a Sam Peckinpah movie turned up to eleven … twelve … wherever …

Another version of an old number, “I Spew Thee Out Of My Mouth MMXXIII”, is the longest track at eight minutes plus, rolling up everything that has gone before into a molten ball and firing it straight into your head via a titanic trebuchet of out-and-out terror.

This closing song batters and befuddles its way through several movements and is the closest Robin Kok, Michiel Dekker or any of the other voices get to clean singing on the album.

At the end of it, you may be left pondering how “new” this latest release is, due to the number of previous singles, reworked and revisited songs, familiar ideas, concepts, forests, and other locations. You doubter! I spew thee out of my mouth!

The Deathcult guys, with more than twenty years in “the business”, must be doing something right. If you ever work out exactly what that is, feel free to let me know …

Buy the album here:


8 / 10