Monday 25 July 2022

Silent Monolith - Empty Kingdom (Album Review)

Release Date: July 18th 2022. Record Label: Self Released. Format: DD

Empty Kingdom - Tracklisting

Terrible Day Of The Dead


Empty Kingdom

The Sin Eater

A Million Miles Away

All The Same

Qui Decipitur

Lost Hope


Kenneth Johnson (KJ) - Guitar/Vocals

Logan Gresson - Bass Guitar

Zach Ranson  - Drums


Empty Kingdom is the second full length record from US Stoner Rockers Silent Monolith who made a great impression with their 2015 debut album. Coming back wiser and with more experience from the Stoner Rock/Metal underground under their belts allows the band to evolve their full creative potential. As this album is an electrifying style of different Stoner Rock movements with an gloomy Psych Rock backdrop allowing the album to bring an NWOBHM feel to the album.

Opening song Terrible Day Of The Lord is a semi-instrumental affair with Silent Monolith playing modern day Stoner Rock grooves with a more classic rock backdrop for extended guitar solos to appear. Though, the song fully comes into life when a gloomy religious spoken word sermon appears. The whole flow of the song even brings a slight "NOLA" influence into play. The music ventures into DOOM ROCK/METAL when the heavier forces appear.

Second song Burn explodes with NWOBHM guitar solos before the vocals bring a more Stoner Rock/Metal flow to the song. The band focuses on playing Psychedelic and Fuzzy guitars with claustrophobic vocals leading the way. The lyrics are a mixture of standard Classic Hard Rock and Heavy Metal themes that veer into Apocalyptic vibes. For a Stoner Rock band, these guys don't embrace the usual "WEEDIAN" style ideas that other bands do. They actually bring a more classical hard rock imagery with their lyrics whilst leaving their music to meet Stoner Rock genre obligations. 

Third track Empty Kingdom is a more turbo-charged and action packed affair that relies on CLUTCH inspired vocals and instrumental sounds. The song is still Silent Monolith through and through with thanks again to the superbly written lyrics. Though, the band do inject a more Heavy Metal based drive into this song where you can hear influences from bands such as Metallica and Motorhead. 

Fourth track Sin Eater opens with a cool solitary bass guitar with the song before expanding into the Blues Rock arena. Soulful vocals and haunting Psych Stoner Rock grooves are played at a cool slow pace. The song is quite foreboding with the intricate Psych Rock sounds appearing when they need to. The vocals are mellow for the first part of the song before exploding into gigantic WALL OF NOISE that sees the whole song become heavily inspired by Monster Magnet whilst still retaining it's own creative identity. This is one of the most uplifting and anthemic tracks on the album that ultimately becomes the standout track on the whole record.

Silent Monolith keeps playing this wonderful style of Hard Rock and Stoner based grooves on other standout tracks such as A Million Miles Away, Oui Decipitur and Lost Hope. The NWOBHM sound and influences are stripped back further with the band focusing more on Psych/Stoner Rock for a highly captivating finish.

Empty Kingdom is full of bleak lyrical content and themes that does allow the album to have a more GLOOMY appearance than originally expected. The production is excellent and one that offers Silent Monolith the platform to deliver a first rate musical adventure that ticks all the right boxes within the RIFFS department.

All in all, Silent Monolith have released a superbly entertaining album from start to finish.

Words by Steve Howe


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