Album Review – Monachopsis Art / An Empty Existence (2023)

A newborn Finnish creature is ready to darken the skies with their debut opus, inspired by early first and second wave Black Metal as well as more recent Atmospheric Black Metal.

Playing brutal yet hypnotic and hauntingly beautiful music straight from their woeful souls, Finnish Black Metal trio Monachopsis Art was formed in 2022 by members from such bands as The Abbey, Henget, Shape of Despair and Licht des Urteils, aiming at creating music that is organic and raw, but still powerful and feeling-evoking, which is exactly what you’ll find in the band’s debut opus, titled An Empty Existence. Mixed and mastered at Studio Beyond North Star by the band’s own guitarist, bassist and keyboardist J.H. (aka Jesse Heikkinen), the album is inspired by early first and second wave Black Metal bands such as Venom, Bathory and Burzum, but also more recent Atmospheric Black Metal acts such as ColdWorld and Lustre, while the lyrics revolve around war, suicide and the meaningless struggles of human life, all played with passion and hatred by the aforementioned J.H. together with N.K. (aka Natalie Koskinen) on vocals, and A.K. (aka Antti Kaislaranta) on drums.

Atmospheric and sinister from the very first second, the intro Thee Darkness Gathers… will darken the skies before the trio comes hammering our hearts with Seeds, a solid fusion of old school, raw Black Metal with more contemporary sounds and nuances led by the venomous gnarls by the she-demon N.K., whereas Silent Torture presents a hypnotizing rhythm led by the Doom Metal beats by A.K. while J.H. adds his share of horror to the music with his somber keys and sharp riffage. Following such powerful tune, the band brings forth River of Blood, offering us all devilish lyrics grasped by N.K. (“Hear the sound / Of the burning wood / Feel the power of / Pure disgust / See how the light (is) fading away / Watch how flesh…buried under the tone”) amidst a dense and Stygian sonority.

Then featuring guest vocals by the demonic Spellgoth (Horna, Trollheims Grott), who makes a phantasmagorical duet with N.K., we have A Dark Place, with J.H. extracting pure evil from his guitar and keys; followed by Stargazer, once again bringing to our avid ears a grim hybrid of Black and Doom Metal while A.K. dictates the song’s lugubrious pace and N.K.’s witch-like vociferations and introspective clean vocals permeate the air beautifully. J.H.’s keys continue to give their music a theatrical vibe in Flesh Will Be Humiliated, while their core Black Metal sound is perfect for summoning all creatures from the underworld; and the trio continues to walk straight into darkness in No Desire to Live, with J.H. and A.K. making a sinister duo and, therefore, making our heads tremble with their devilish sonic weapons. Finally, we face Flame of Night, which is not a bad song but the keys sound a bit excessive during its entirety, taking away a bit of its heaviness. N.K. is awesome on vocals as usual, though.

The name of the band couldn’t have been more appropriate than Monachopsis Art, as “monachopsis” is defined as the subtle but persistent feeling of being out of place, plus the word “art” to depict how the band members see their creations as a different form of art that doesn’t follow the rules of the existing music scene, all carefully brought into being in An Empty Existence. Hence, go check what such promising trio is up to on Facebook and on Instagram, and above that, go grab your copy of their idiosyncratic debut album from the Nordvis webstore or by clicking HERE, and you can also find all things Monachopsis Art by following this link. The music by Monachopsis Art is evil, atmospheric, delicate and captivating, turning An Empty Existence into the perfect soundtrack for one of those dark days with no end in sight.

Best moments of the album: Silent Torture, A Dark Place and Stargazer.

Worst moments of the album: Flame of Night.

Released in 2023 Forgotten Friends/Silent Future Recordings

Track listing
1. Thee Darkness Gathers… 2:05
2. Seeds 3:50
3. Silent Torture 4:02
4. River of Blood 5:00
5. A Dark Place 3:06
6. Stargazer 3:34
7. Flesh Will Be Humiliated 2:55
8. No Desire to Live 3:30
9. Flame of Night 4:25

Band members
N.K. – vocals
J.H. – guitars, bass, keyboards
A.K. – drums

Guest musician
Spellgoth – vocals on “A Dark Place”


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