First thing I must say about this vinyl release is that the presentation is utterly superb. The record looks and feels fantastic and the artwork etc. is stunning. The real clincher is the twelve-page 12×8 (approximately – I didn’t get out a measuring tape, just looked at it) booklet containing lyrics and further artwork. A very professional package, into which a considerable deal of thought, effort and care was invested. It enhances the buying experience no end. Everything is black and white, with colours and pansiness totally eschewed, thankfully. It’s a lovely product to have and to hold.
Musically, I found ‘Monuments’ to be a bit of a let-down, to be honest. While it’s undoubtedly a very good, standard Black Metal LP, none of the six tracks really hooked me in with any great amount of infectiousness. And the album is pretty short. It’s good but it’s not necessarily great.
I could sit and listen to this album all day and all night – pounding, fast, venomous Black Metal with a sinister hint of melody laced throughout – but the fact that I can’t think of any adjectives to describe Flagellant apart from Black Metal suggests either that this is run-of-the-mill, unspectacular BM that’s been done a thousand times before or that I’m running out of steam as a critic.
Perhaps it’s the latter; I have been feeling weary of late.
Don’t get me wrong: ‘Monuments’ is a good listen. I believe Flagellant have deliberately gone with this strain of no-frills, in-your-face Black Metal. They are exactly what they are, with no pretentions to grandeur or modern trends or post-this / post-that shite.
All in all, I would recommend buying this record due to the wonderful value-for-money, eye-catching presentation and the small matter of some killer BM. While it is unlikely to change your life or blow your mind, it’s nonetheless a nice one to own. Well-played, nicely-written and shamelessly derivative stuff for Black Metal purists and those who aren’t seeking anything particularly new in their music.