"Symphony III - Monolith" (Flood the Earth; NULLL Records; 2006/2004)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

I came to realize a few years ago, when reviewing Until Death Overtakes Me’s “Prelude to Monolith,” that the band’s symphonic ambient funereal doom was an overwhelmingly crushing way to approach music. I thought it was interesting how such music could be considered extreme, especially since I’ve typically associated “extreme” with super-fast rhythms and guitars.

Until Death Overtakes Me has continued with its keyboard-based symphonic ambient funereal doom with “Symphony III – Monolith.” Although another Until Death Overtakes Me disc was released after “Prelude to Monolith” and previous to “Symphony III – Monolith” there are many other projects that band mastermind S has created.

The melancholy, oppressive, and depressive sound and style on “Prelude to Monolith” is quite evident on “Symphony III – Monolith.” However, the overall impact of “Symphony III – Monolith” has more of a cosmic, naturalistic manner which, while a little less outright depressing, does provide the listener with the idea that each individual is fairly insignificant in the grand, universal scheme of things.

In the three years since I was first exposed to Until Death Overtakes Me, it is surprising how much I’ve come to appreciate the artistry of this sort of doom. As with “Prelude to Monolith” Until Death Overtakes Me’s “Symphony III – Monolith” requires patience and multiple, dedicated listens to fully appreciate. “Symphony III – Monolith” is somewhat mesmerizing and occasionally trance-inducing – the disc envelopes the listener with a blanket of atmosphere that would seem to be calming but is more scary than anything else.

“Symphony III – Monolith” features four tracks covering more than 74 minutes of music. As you can imagine Until Death Overtakes Me is pretty much the opposite of grindcore. As grindcore exacts its emotional outpouring (typically) in less than two minutes of fury, the sound of funeral doom is deliberate and slowly evolves in songs that occasionally last more than a half-hour. Such is the case with “Symphony III – Monolith” whereby twenty-plus songs take glacial pacing to extremes with the intended effect in full play by album’s end.

“Symphony III – Monolith” was produced by S (a.k.a. Stijn Van Cauter).

Until Death Overtakes Me is S on all instruments.

For more information visit http://svc.nulll-void.com/udom_index.htm

"Prelude to Monolith" (Firebox Records; 2003)

Reviewed by Christopher J. Kelter

Until Death Overtakes Me is a Belgian band that is the sole creation of a person mysteriously named S. With "Prelude To Monolith" I was expecting another guitar-based doom album, but the CD turned out to be keyboard-heavy doom with a few touches of classical music and gothic metal thrown in to spice up the proceedings.

"Prelude To Monolith" is basically three epic tracks with an intro and a closing song that is an orchestral representation of a Fredrik Chopin piece. I guess the best approximation I can come up with is that Until Death Overtakes Me is what Morgion's "Solinari" would sound like if the keyboards replaced all the guitars.

S plays all instruments on the album - and supplies all vocals - in what must have been a painstaking recording process. The vocals are sparse and S uses an extremely deep and growling style that almost seems like another instrument rather than a human voice.

"Prelude To Monolith" is so melancholy, so oppressive, and so depressive that one could be lulled to sleep quite easily if they don’t pay their full attention to the music. As such, "Prelude To Monolith" will probably only appeal to a small number of fans of the doom genre who can take their doom with keyboards and without guitars. Additionally, patience and multiple, dedicated listens will be required to hear all that "Prelude To Monolith" has to offer.

As far as I know, Until Death Overtakes Me will forever remain a studio project under the guidance of S. If others are hired for touring purposes look for Until Death Overtakes Me to bring a dark and depressing cloud of misery to your town.

"Prelude To Monolith" was produced by S.

Until Death Overtakes Me is S on guitars, bass, vocals, keyboards, and timpani.

For more information visit http://svc.nulll-void.com/udom_index.htm

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Revised: 04 Sep 2023 15:33:16 -0400 .