Monocube – The Rituals CD Malignant Records 2016
Monocube represents yet another new addition to the (ever) expanding Malignant roster, with this Ukrainian project being one I have not come across before. ‘The Rituals’ is their second album which demonstrates itself to be wildly diverse in terms of sound with a wealth of musical ideas on display, including clear attention to detailed sonic textures and fleeting moments of musicality (…the most obvious musical element being sparse guitar on one particular piece).
Although at its core this is a dark ambient album, it also interweaves elements of acrid drone and an undercurrent of post-industrial discontent. Thus drawing from the recognized tropes of this type of music, including: twilight atmospherics, catacomal drones, sweeping sub-orchestral undercurrents, foggy disembodied invocations, tribal percussive thrum etc., individual creativity is demonstrated across the 9 tracks and 64 minutes. This is perhaps in part due to 3 tracks feature contributions from Apocryphos, Treha Sektori and Asmorod, although the tracks which are solely of Monocube’s creation are hardly of a singular sonic type. There is also a high degree of forward momentum and tonal intensity which drive the sprawling widescreen compositions, meaning the results are well beyond a minimalistic or abstracted. Equally there is an organic flair and resonance to numerous elements such as vocal textures and chants, dank field recordings and on occasion real instrumentation (i.e. ominous ritual percussion and sparse guitar), which functions to ground the principal atmosphere with an earthy tribal realism.
Although ‘The Rituals’ can be categorised under a broad ritual-dark ambient/ post-industrial drone banner, it pleasingly illustrates the creativity and diversity in approach which can still be achieved with the confines of such genres.