Trust me, I literally have no idea what is happening in this album art. I would say that the lithograph inspired artwork illustrates the relationship between Black Monolith’s influences but this is wrong. This US based crust act fuses together the styles of hardcore and black metal but that would mean both figures on the cover should be rotting and shriveled. I think this is true unless the nude women is black metal. What in the hell is going on at that campfire? What is that pyramid?
Black Monolith’s debut, Passenger, begins much like a black metal record with “Intro/Void” with sharp noise and a standard extreme metal template. This soon changes as the next track, “Dead Hand” downshifts into mid paced d beat. Mind you, this is all within the first 10 minutes of the record. This strange dichotomy continues throughout Black Monolith’s short release with parings between bruised black metal and ghostly hardcore. Passenger turns out to be less a crust record than it is a rainfall of catharsis and dark emotion. The band seems less worried about fitting into a genre and more about using the appropriate resources at the perfect time. Black Monolith’s willingness to toggle between different styles while still making each part as interesting as the whole lends itself to a rousing success.
Black Monolith have managed to make themselves known by not really following any sort of rules. Passengerdips and dives in and out of metal and hardcore but also skirts the surface of ambient and post rock with the closing track “Eris.” The band’s blend of black metal with bastard styles of punk is not novel yet when played sounds raw and unhinged. Certain people strive for chaos which some heavy metal cannot offer while there is a certain level of darkness just not found in punk. Black Monolith offers both in a world covered in ash and open wounds which is surprisingly entertaining. Passenger takes everything from you and gives nothing wanted in return except for the chance to experience ruin played with grooved tempos.