Straightforward and heavy, the Milan, Italy-based trio Monolithic Elephant gleefully meld influences from Black Sabbath, QOTSA and Orange Goblin on their self-titled debut. Andrea Ravasi, Alessandro Riva and Santo Carone beat out a boozy but melodic rock classicism, taking a familiar approach in a familiar format and updating it with a crisp, engaging mark of their own.
At six tracks and 66 minutes, Monolithic Elephant give their material plenty of time to flesh out. What are essentially classically-structured heavy rock tunes, that more than half of them should reach over ten minutes long can come across as somewhat surprising, but I wouldn’t call Monolithic Elephant’s time misspent. Ravasi’s solos are bluesy and rife with the kind of unscripted energy of someone who’s honed a natural talent, and when he comes around a central riff with the rhythm section behind, as on “The Unbaptized and the Virtuous Pagans Pt. 2” the groove is undeniable. They’re prone to swagger, but no more than is appropriate or called for by the songs, and with touches of classic metal and a crisp production Monolithic Elephant was basically an album waiting to be picked up.
Black Sabbath is certainly an influence in the trio’s music but they don’t limit themselves to slow dirges. In fact, most of the album is played at a mid-tempo pace. The songwriting is blues-based but with enough bite to the guitars to give it that Metal edge. You can hear Uriah Heep and even early Motorhead throughout the album. The vocals aren’t the strongest, but the singer knows how to get the most out of what he has. Monolithic Elephant is a promising band for fans of 70s Hard Rock/Heavy Metal. Here’s hoping they don’t let themselves become just another stoner band.
Get a copy of the album here.