Yeah, this was supposed to come out ages ago, but a variety of impediments stalled it’s release until now. The Crucial Blast release of Mer Morte is finally freakin’ out, though, and I gotta say, it looks and sounds just as great as the previous Monarch collection on C-Blast, Dead Men Tell No Tales. If you’ve been following Crucial Blast for a while, you probably already know all about Monarch, the extreme slow-motion sludge/doom band from France who plays so slow, so glacially, that Decibel said in their review of Mer Morte that “even at their fastest, Monarch! sound dead”. They ain’t kiddin’. Monarch’s previous releases pushed the envelope on just how slow and miserable and anguished one band can sound, but here their crawling black drones and tectonic doom rumble seems to actually be decaying. If you’re looking for some big, fat riffs to bite into, this isn’t the place to look.
Like our previous Monarch release Dead Men Tell No Tales, Mer Morte is a reissue of a vinyl release that came out on the Spanish label Throne Records, this one from back in 2008. The Lp featured the monolithic track “Mer Morte” split into two halves across the two sides of vinyl; now, most Monarch fans find it pretty hard to not lust after their vinyl releases, which are all beautifully packaged and always super-limited, but it’s also cool to hear the song uninterrupted, to hear it unfurl it’s rotting black wings in it’s entirety without pause, which is why we wanted to make this available on disc.
And it’s truly gargantuan sounding on this re-issue. “Mer Morte” is a single unbroken thirty-four minute sludge-and-feedback feast that sprawls out even further into the dismal black void that these French doom junkies have been lurking in for the past six years. As with previous releases, Monarch move through massive blackened tar pits of low-end riff and sheets of gluey feedback that are stretched out into monolithic slabs of sound across “Mer Morte”, a grim, glacial ultra-doom monolith that crawls at a saurian sub-tempo. It’s the most droning, static, deathly doomdrone that Monarch have so far released, not really that propulsive, certainly very little of anything that you could call a “groove”, but instead just floating, decaying and corrupted, massive rumbling crush hovering in a sea of yawning blackness.
And vocalist Emilie sounds as gaunt and ghostly as ever, her vocalizations materializing across the spatial doomscape as distant ululating wails, breathy whispers, and putrid death shrieks, at times disappearing almost completely into the black fug for minutes at a time, or lurking as a hushed lullaby whisper way off on the edges of the crushing subterranean thrum. At the same time, this disc captures the band at their most formless and distended, with long sections of droning buzz where the band collapses into waves of pure amp-rumble and minimalist percussion, smoldering black clouds of ghostly cooing vocals and howling feedback drone, and eerie tectonic melodies…definitely one of their most extreme and dismal slabs of doom yet, more ambient drone than doom really, but still completely CRUSHING.
And once again, we’ve worked with the artisan printers at Stumptown Printers to create the packaging for this Monarch disc, presenting Mer Morte in a black offset-printed jacket with gold metallic printing and more artwork from Monarch’s Michell. Might have taken awhile, but the wait was worth it!