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Krakow - "Monolith" (CD)

Krakow - "Monolith" CD cover image

"Monolith" track listing:

1. Coronated King (7:15)
2. Art Of Motion (3:13)
3. Last (7:33)
4. Lantern (3:54)
5. Follow (7:25)
6. Oblivious (3:49)
7. Monolith (11:46)

Reviewed by on March 17, 2010

"Lacking in substance and any real direction, 'Monolith' is not nearly as massive as the band intended it to be. "

A stoner metal band from Norway like Krakow may come across as a little odd. “Monolith” is their debut, and while it is indeed pretty heavy, it sure doesn’t hold up to its title. With a style that’s more akin to Isis (with some traditional Kyuss-esque sound thrown in for good measure) and a high production quality, Krakow shows potential, but doesn’t really go anywhere on this release. A lot of the riffs sound very familiar and don’t show much originality, and a lot of it is filler.

The first track, “Coronated King,” starts off pretty heavy. It’s a mid-paced track that exhibits more of the sludge side of things. The band alternates between clean vocals, grittier heavy metal-sounding vocals, and straight growls. “Art of Motion” really exhibits a very stoner metal style with fuzzy guitar work, groovy riffs, and a great drum build up. “Last” is a super heavy track that has a nice instrumental break in the middle.

My biggest issue with this album is that it doesn’t seem to have that punch that really takes a genre that is relatively simple and makes it stand out. Where Kyuss had the foundation of excellent musicianship mixed with ingenious psychedelic and instrumental parts and Sleep had sheer sonic brilliance and deep-rooted substance, Krakow just doesn’t have a lot going for them in a time where bands seem to have done it all. Sure, they throw enough variation in there to keep me from falling asleep, but most of it is filler and doesn’t do a thing for the album as a whole. I can hear what they are trying to get at, but at its best this album is mediocre and at its worst a dumbed-down version of the stoner genre.

This is best exhibited in the final and titular song “Monolith.” This track is entirely unnecessary and doesn’t even begin to breach the sphere of things interesting. Where Krakow obviously intended to be massive and looming, they only succeeded at being redundant and boring.

While they may have the musicianship down, Krakow just doesn’t pull it off with this album. Lacking in substance and any real direction, “Monolith” is not nearly as massive as the band intended it to be. New fans of the genre might find this interesting, but longtime stoner fans will find this release very boring and quite redundant. Hopefully, with more experience, Krakow will release some truly worthy stoner grooves later in their career, because this one just doesn’t quite make it.

Highs: Good production quality and variation in the music.

Lows: Not a lot of substance that isn't filler.

Bottom line: While new fans may dig this, the lack of direction and substance makes this debut rather uninteresting.

Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls
2.5 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)