Los Angeles power trio Behold! The Monolith's sophomore effort Defender, Redeemist mixes stoner rock, sludge, doom, classic thrash, and black metal into a massive cauldron.
Since forming in 2008, vocalist/bassist Kevin McDade and guitarist Matt Price have been pushing the band forward. But during our interview over hearty plates of mac & cheese at The 101 Coffee Shop in Hollywood, the founding members credit new drummer Chase Manhattan with helping them evolve their sound.
"Our previous drummer, Bobby Padavick, he was cool and a good drummer," Price says. "But he was more of a loose stoner-rock drummer. Chase just brought this more metal dimension."
The jumble of metal influences filtered through Defender, Redeemist is most seamless on the three-part suite "Cast on the Black/Lamentor/Guided by the Southern Cross." This 14-minute epic is full of twists and turns that evoke the plodding doom of Saint Vitus, the psychedelic black metal of Nachtmystium, and prog jam-outs of current-day Mastodon.
"I was actually a little nervous about it," Price reveals. "We were taking a chance here. We hadn't demoed that one so much, so it was still open to experimentation in the studio. We're kind of A.D.D., so anytime we try to do those long Electric Wizard/Dopesmoker jams, we just get kind of bored. We just want to do it all. We want to throw everything in and do whatever works."
Despite the cacophony of abrasive elements they brought to the table with their newest effort, the production still has a sense of cozy warmth. McDade and Price give a lot of props to metal producer extraordinaire Billy Anderson.
"He is more tone-oriented," explains McDade. "He's not really into getting into the creative input aspect. He is really a genius at dialing in those tones. He'll take these raw tracks that won't sound super great, and he'll get it somewhere sounding amazing within ten minutes."
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As to the origin of the very metal-sounding band name, Price admits that the story is not so metal. "I just kept thinking of 'Monolith.' But I was watching Peanuts on TV around Christmas time and Linus says, 'Behold!' I said that's a rad word, so I just thought Behold! The Monolith sounds really cool."
Behold! The Monolith's first show since the release of their new album will be Sunday night, February 12, at The Airliner in Lincoln Heights. The band is always excited to play locally, but they are even more excited to get the opportunity hit the road this year and play outside the West Coast, which will be new territory for them.
"We're saving up for a good van as we speak," says McDade.