Masters of riffs and doomy goodness, Monolord have emerged from the smoke after two years with their latest full-length release Your Time to Shine. This is most certainly a Monolord album, however, there is some fine-tuning and added finesse making it a unique addition to the band’s discography. It may even be the best album by the Swedish trio to date. This dynamic album has everything fans love about Monolord—amazing riffs, sludge distortion, hypnotic doom metal vocals—with added dramatics and wrapped in a crisp production. Your Time to Shine was created with “liters of coffee, cinnamon buns, and good bad jokes” which can be felt in these five tracks. Who knew that was the perfect formula for creating stellar doom metal?
Every element in the album is clearly heard and can easily be identified. The balance of the sounds and the dictation of each instrument creates very polished and satisfying songs. The drums by Esben Willems punctuate each movement while the guitar by Thomas V Jäger creates the flow and sets the tone. The dope bass lines by Mika Häkki expand the space of each track. Jäger’s vocals throughout the album are passionate and provoke a sing-along.
Your Time to Shine opens with “The Weary” which begins with a marching drum line and equally stomping riffs before adding catchy guitar melodies and vocals. Wood block can even be heard in this track, emphasizing the head banging rhythm. This is the shortest track of the album, but it holds so much power and punch. “To Each Their Own” teeters between serene sounds and aggression. Sections here have gentle cymbal-heavy drumming, guitar that holds a 70s groove to it, and harmonized vocals. Opposing sections have pugnacious drumming, warning feedback screeches, and powerful riffs. These two sounds work together to create a vibrant track. “I’ll Be Damned” comes next with a nod to Monolord’s earlier releases. A more distorted stoner, psychedelic rock vibe is heard and is reminiscent of the band’s Empress Rising days. The title track of the album begins with a far off, quiet guitar melody before coming to the forefront with backing drums. This is the longest track on the album and also holds a classic Monolord feel. The chill rhythm and wailing vocals change the focus to the lyrics which creates a more ballad-like feel and makes for a very moving and meaningful piece. The last few minutes of this track fades into a gentle, reverberating guitar melody with some psychedelic atmospheric touches and a groovy drumline complete with a tambourine. The album ends with “The Siren of Yersinia” which ties all the earlier elements together in one epic conclusion. There is a solid combination of tempos and emotions resulting in a complex and amazing composition.
Your Time to Shine is a passion project of the band as all the arrangements were crafted by the trio, the lyrics by Jäger, and mixed by Willems. The album will resonate with each listener differently as Esben explains, “To me, an honest representation of how I feel about the current state of humanity.” Thomas adds, “To me it does not feel heavier. It feels more complete.” I think both of these viewpoints can be felt. While there are darker/heavier moments in the album, it does not stray from Monolord’s signature sound. I am blown away by the production and quality of Your Time to Shine compared to earlier releases from the band. I can hear every unique sound that went into these songs and the result is a more captivating and impressive album. I have been a fan of the band for years and do believe that this is the best album of theirs to date. I can only imagine what Monolord will create in the future, and I highly anticipate their next release. For now, I will continue to spin and vibe with Your Time to Shine.