Jurgen : The five-piece from Trondheim, Norway returns to the metal firmament after nine years absence after their last album ´Binocular´. These previously predominantly atmospheric mixers of death and doom metal do not brag on the new full-length to swallow up a certain amount of progressive elements that immerse the atmosphere into dark colors of industrial and (to some extent) experimental. In 1988 started as Suffocation – yes.. where do we know thát name from. -, and from 1990 on operating as Atrox. It lasted – preceded by a number of demos plus a seven inch – until 1997 before first full-length ´Mesmerized´ was released, through the famous Norwegian label Head Not Found (including Ulver and The Kovenant releases). ´Binocular´ (Atrox fifth record) already meant a shake in the sound of the Norwegians. With a changeover of vocals – from female to male – and a more eager use of electronics and computers.
When listening to ´Monocle´, a quick notice is made that the death and doom doses are significant reduced, more strongly put: death and doom have disappeared practically. It is mostly ´tight-lined´ and accessible groovy riffage that do determine the metal imagery, served with a modern and fairly sterile sound. Supporting electronics and clinical beats do encourage modernism further on. The progressive coloring of the album is found in swirling tracks like ´Vacuum´ and ´Finger´, that let shine through particular bewildering and do slightly feel like lightweight theatrical masquerades, through the playful rythms and winding synth looping. The full, rather typical voice of singer Rune Folgero (a bit dark wave) gives Atrox´ proggy industrial metal a kind of extravagance. The almost eight-minute lasting ´For We Are Many´ is the most harsh sounding track on ´Monocle´, especially due to the – compaired to the previous tracks – more prominent double bass drumming. And again, it is a rather ´fluttering´ composition, containing a little less Faith No More curiosity (such as that band could/can present in his songs). The last two tracks ´Movie´ and ´Target´ are also fueled firmly by more over pushing double bass.drumming.
Concluding, you may consider ´Monacle´ as an average industrial metal album, featuring certain progressive tensions and cautious experimental frills. Though really striking tracks are not to be found here. The ongoing upbeats and electronic looping are brought up a bit too much, bringing on board a rather flat-rate character clinging on most of the eight songs counting record. So, the album as a whole does not fully work. It is basically – for a big part - Rune Folgero´s special and nice singing that keeps up ´Monocle´ still enough.