Review: “Monument” by Onhou
“This death is ageless. This death has decayed once.” ~ Onhou
Recorded and mixed at Soundlodge by Jörg Uken (Warpath, Party Cannon, Anvil), the sophomore album “Monument” from Dutch Sludge Doom collective Onhou is said to follow on from the wreckage left in the wake of their debut album “Endling“. That mixes desolate and miserable Post-Metal atmospheres with Sludge fuelled Doom Metal riffs in an unforgiving fashion, blazing a whiskey soaked trail to hell for you to follow. The collective of musicians known for their work in Ravenwiek, Grinding Halt and Ortega who were founded in 2016 in Groningen in The Netherlands now give us 4 tracks that span over 42 minutes of music to sink our teeth into… but will you follow?
A skull battering that drags you into the dark woods kicking and screaming before a savage beating, “When On High” plays with atmospheres as it dances from monolithic riffs to be worshipped by the slow headbang and the raising of goblets to dark and eerie nuances of phycological depravity. In the same territory as bands like Conan and Weedeater, the subtle use of synths created by Florian Studdel gives a third dimension to augment the almost incomprehensible vocals from Alex Loots. The musings of a warped mind starring into the void after the loss of sanity, the pain suffered is echoed and channelled cathartically in a release that will end in a long and painful death. Picking up the pieces after the gargantuan opening, “Null” slows the tempo another notch and injects dark melodies to soothe the dull ache of reality with an almost meditative trance generating like quality, the expansiveness of the sound reaching shoegazing levels of hypnosis. The cavernous drums from Arnold Havinga alongside the bass of Henk Wobbes provide a sturdy backbone; the gruesome uncleans savagely breaking the trance and cutting deep. The bleak nature of the soundscape is as intriguing as a low budget science fiction horror film. Playing on the psychology as you’re never quite sure what the protagonist will find, wondering alone through the deserts of alien worlds with a creeping sense of dread enhanced by the synths that introduce “Below” in cinematic fashion. Eerie and sinister before the beastly scathing vocals rise from the black depths, the captivating power that Onhou display across the album is second to none and when they eventually create a new Alien film, Ridley Scott needs to get Studdel on board. Finale “Ruins” has at its heart Crowbar sized monstrous riffs, the midtempo chug making the ground tremble beneath the feet. The demonic, throat scraping vocals however which will strike the fear of God into lesser mortals, the plague winds emanating from the recording tearing through the ear drums to the brain to induce haemorrhage. Onhou have truly created a Monument to Madness [7/10]
- When On High
“Monument” by Onhou is out 9th December 2022 via Tartarus Records/Lay Bare Recordings with pre-orders available over at bandcamp.