WORDS: SEAN HUBBARD
The Swedish doom metal trio Monolord are on the verge of releasing their fourth full length studio album, ‘No Comfort,’ which they chose because of the view that “it’s 2019 and a lot of people still seek comfort in imaginary constructs, such as religion or spirituality,” where there is no comfort to be found. Their underlying mantra is that it is through turning to real people where “the only true comfort and love can be found,” and reference the ongoing debate around the mass shooting tragedies in the United States, saying that “the pandemic of sending thoughts and prayers is scary. It’s a lazy, arrogant and self-affirming mindgame that changes nothing in the real world.” They felt that the title and how it related to a lack of comfort in modern life perfectly encompassed the vibe of the entire album.
For ‘No Comfort’ the band decided to record traditionally in a regular studio unlike previous release ‘Rust,’ which was hugely challenging at first but one that they felt strengthened them musically and made the album much stronger. In regards to the writing process they say that Thomas is the main lyrical contributor, but that everything goes through their collective filter, and the most important thing in writing is that it follows their work ethic of constant communication and that “all three of us have to like everything we present as a band, be it music or artwork, so we discuss everything all the time.” While the lyrics are written by Thomas and come from his personal experiences they are also things that Mika and Esben can relate to, as well as the ever present misanthropy and hopelessness that veers its head in the form of frustration over humanity destroying the planet and doing nothing to save it except thoughts and prayers. Esben feels that the music helps keep them fairly sane in the face of intolerance spreading like a wildfire across the globe and the loss of faith in humanity that is a consequence of seeing the consequences of intolerance.
“everyone wants to be loved, have fun, be respected, feel safe, eat good food and have as much good sex as possible.”
Monolord live shows are the example of the antithesis of intolerance however, the band see cultural differences, language barriers or any other perceived differences melt away as everyone is there for their own enjoyment. Despite it being a common phrase the band stand behind the motto that “music has no borders,” and this is perfectly in effect in the dynamic of a live show. The band also feel that differences between countries are rather superficial, as “everyone wants to be loved, have fun, be respected, feel safe, eat good food and have as much good sex as possible. A piece of clothing, a national dish or local semantics don’t change that.”
While some bands discuss moving to a new musical direction as a conscious decision, Monolord seldom view their music as solid, and instead work with where they are at any given moment and keep their minds as open as possible to they can be as creative as possible. They feel that as they’ve evolved as a band they’ve begun to sound “more like ourselves.” While they don’t adhere to templates or limits they constantly attempt to refine the sound they begun on ‘Empress Rising’ while still sounding like themselves.
“inspiration and the creative process is one of the most complex and random synapse fireworks there is.”
For the Swedish trio inspiration comes from everywhere, and Esben finds the creative process an incredibly interesting subject, because everyone is wired differently, but simultaneously also wired exactly the same. Inspiration comes from all of life’s experiences and everyone they meet and listen to, from all different inputs –interviews with various musicians or rig rundowns on YouTube can all spark an element of creativity. He feels that “inspiration and the creative process is one of the most complex and random synapse fireworks there is. A song is being written because someone fell in love, a painting is being painted because a grandmother died; inspiration comes from everywhere and anywhere.”
While there is always controversy (usually in the form of Gene Simmons) over whether rock is dead or not, the Swedish band feel that it is very alive to them. Heavy music is constantly evolving and it doesn’t sound the same as it did in its perceived heyday, but then they feel that it would not be rock if it did not change. The usual arguments are that modern music doesn’t compare to the classics of Elvis, Jimi Hendrix, Bob Dylan and Nirvana, but Esben argues that they just aren’t looking hard enough, and are instead focussing on the signature sounds of those artists who had major influences on the youth of their generation, and not on the exciting evolution of heavy music. Monolord absolutely feel that rock and heavy music are thriving, and Esben finishes by saying that “I’m overwhelmed by how many great albums that are released every year.”