A few months back, Omega Monolith, the drone duo from Athens released their EP, Vile, establishing their ability to manipulate time and space, with the endless guitar loops, intriguing drum patterns and construction of soundscapes leading the way through the twenty minutes of the EP. Just a few months after, Omega Monolith return with their new full-length album, Fungus, an expansion and evolution of their vision in every aspect.
The main vessel of the band remains their drone self, constantly feeding this endeavor. Through a slow pace and glacial progression, the band is able to construct an imposing manifestation of their sound, as the start of “The Future Is Gone” lets on. It is a subtle art, and it is not simply based on the band presenting slow, heavy riffs, but rather enriching the space between the drum hits and the guitar strums, adding variety in a place where none seems to be possible. Omega Monolith are masters of time, and their use of effects is able to make their music more open and loose. Simple additions, such as panning of the guitar left and right through the speakers in “The Future Is Gone,” brings a mesmerizing essence to come to the front, while the various mutations of the guitar sound switches the setting of each moment. From the electrifying parts of the opening track, slowly melting your brain, to the reverberated, alien entities interchanging between the heavy and hazy moments of “The Time Has Come.”
The methodology of Omega Monolith is one of meticulous and constant building, starting off with their minimalistic tendencies and slowly crafting towards their doom/drone/sludge visions, progressing through drones and erupting soundscapes, before reaching devastating moments of grandeur. The opening track is an example of such a movement, with the band finding the perfect time to unleash all its weight, giving a more solid and structured approach to inherit their experimental gaze. However, even more extreme passages are found within the record, times when Omega Monolith reveal a much more brutal face beneath the hazy facade of minimalistic drone. Multiple times through the opening track, short bursts of a blackened perspective pass through, creating discontinuities with their presence, as if nightmare visions appear while on a trip. There is even an expansion towards black metal with some of the riffology in “The Time Has Come,” and an overall dissonant perspective that is inherent in this blackened approach, resulting in the relentless and sharp guitars in the ending of the final track.
What is still quite astounding, though, is the manner in which Omega Monolith are able to traverse between all these different parts, in a seamless effort. The whole album feels more like a single track than three distinct entities, something that all the changes from one song to another attest to. This is also coming from a certain sense of improvisation, something that becomes very apparent in the final track of the album, “The Past Is Now,” as the sparse guitars and subtle drums begin the construction of the tracks through means of a free-form rock mindset. Even though the rock aspect is smeared through different parts of the album, particularly in the opening track, the approach in the final track is much braver, seeing Omega Monolith further mutating their sound, giving a distinctly different feel to their music.
Fungus feels like the natural continuation of Vile, and it takes the ideas and notions of Omega Monolith even further. The rock tonality, the free form approach, the more brutal outbreaks all aid to enrich the concepts of the band, resulting in what is a great album.
By (once again and forever!) Viral Graphics.