Mare Infinitum – Alien Monolith God (2015) – Russians Mare Infinitum play an uncommon blend of symphonic/atmospheric doom/death, which is rare in the fact that its plodding did not bore me to tears. As a matter of fact, I was completely awestruck by the whole experience, allow me to tell you why.
Let’s first take into account that Alien Monolith God is a pretty awesome sounding name, and it manages to pump an hour’s worth of material into just five tracks which fill with the very mystique that we might expect for such spatial and Lovecraftian subject matter. The frontman possesses an almost monolithic approach to the growls, which truly seems inhuman and it even feels as if an elder god is actually on the microphone instead of a human being.
In addition to that, you’ve got an absolutely incredible guitarist who definitely balances out the thick thunder of doom, beefed by synths that truly work to make the performance that much more memorable. There’s also a clean vocal approach in use here that just fucking works. When you hear the high notes rise, you’ll be mesmerized, as well as the female vocal chants which once again, only help to persuade me closer to the atmosphere. Basically, Alien Monolith God took hold of me and had such a firm grip that it refused to let go.
As I usually take my promos with me (via MP3 player) whilst I’m doing various errands around town, the record setups are usually alphabetical and sometimes random. I had no earthly idea what I was getting into as I was walking into the frozen food section and this amazing record took hold of me. I was almost in a trance as I went to add items into my cart from various aisles, while still being pulled halfway into this cold alien world that beckoned me further with each and every song.
The title track (14:21) even added a touch of calm atmosphere in which to embrace, as I continued to glide through one section to the next; completely in the hold of a fantastic musical world which was only increased by the majesty of guitar leads and unexpected electronics that open up to reveal a breathtakingly clean duet accompanied by folk instruments. Then without warning, the song made me think of something I might hear from Dead Can Dance and I became even more enamored. Just who are these gentlemen and from whence have they come?
Reader, I can honestly say to you that this review doesn’t even scratch the surface of such a mesmerizing and memorable experience. I’ve only talked about two of the five differing mood variations utilized in this doom/death style, but I’ll digress and beg of you to hear the rest. If you love doom metal, death metal and atmospheric approaches at all, then there is absolutely no reason for you not to buy Alien Monolith God.
Every self-respecting heavy metal journalist that doesn’t respect this album and the majesty it possesses should be punched in the face repeatedly. Shame on you for promoting trends, when fascinating art has been achieved and put into fruition in such a package as has been embraced here. If Mare Infinitum falls into obscurity, then it will be your faults, not mine. For I’ve done what I felt was necessary to honor such an outstanding monolith of a recording.
Though Alien Monolith God is a very lengthy experience, it is an experience that you will be more than willing to take several times over. I just can’t get over how great this record sounds the second time through and I’m quite sure that it will sound just as good on the third or fourth listen. Russia has an absolute powerhouse in this act and I hope that we’ll hear more from them, even though to be perfectly honest; I’m perfectly fine with this and wouldn’t be upset if they chose to end it here. If I had a top ten list, I’d put this one up there with Forgotten Horror for sure. We at The Grim Tower highly recommend Alien Monolith God as it is one of the best heavy metal experiences that we’ve had this year.
(5 Tracks, 55:00)