I love it when black metal uses minimalist, yet, intense texture as the backbone of the music. Monarque really comes across as a band that puts significant thought into their compositions, laying the music out in movements that both compliment and contrast the parts that came both before and after.
One thing that I don’t hear enough of in most Black Metal is the presence of bass and stylistic drumming. However, Monarque definitely has these elements covered. The drumming on Lys Noir includes the standard blast beats BUT it also incorporates a lot of polyrhythms and tasteful fills which effectively comes across very nicely. The varied drums swirl around the simplistic guitar-riffing creating a trance-like effect. Acoustic guitars are used in sparing quantities to provide a well-deserved respite from the onslaught of speedy riffing. Keyboards tend to take the backseat but it really works nicely in this music as they add a quiet, haunting effect in the background.
Usually I’m a stickler for modern production, but I think that the production style that was selected for this record is more effective than modern production. The mix is awaash in reverb and has a warmer, dynamic quality to it that helps to bolster the atmospheric nature of the compositions.
There’s nothing too extreme or unbalanced about this record. Instead, Monarque is successful in achieving a mature and well-thought sound for this record. If I could make an analogy and say metal was like alcohol, then this record would be the 21-year old Scotch. It’s got a bit of bite to it, but provides a powerfully intoxicating effect executed with smoothness and a tremendous character. These guys get a well-deserved. 3.7/5 Dragons
Monarque Online – www.facebook.com/monarqueqc
– Review by David Khan of Scythia