France's premiere doom exports Monarch! have been on my radar for a while now, but it wasn't until their appearance at the second edition of Bristol's Temples Festival that I became a convert to their terrifying take on drone doom.
Their incredible set had me slack-jawed in wonderment, and as soon as I got back home I immediately forked over all my leftover merch funds to start catching up on their discography. The latest release they put out is this nifty wee 7", featuring covers of The Runaways and The Misfits. The white ink screened cover illustrations for each side, by super-prolific artist Nagawika, are the perfect balance of gimmkvlt and hilarious.
Monarch!'s version of 'Cherry Bomb' takes the original's driving rhythm and coy rebellion and contorts it into a malevolent sacrificial dirge, all inhuman shrieks and howling feedback. Emilie Bresson's usually abstract vocals are far more direct here, so much so that the classic chorus lines are actually recognisable, albeit terrifyingly delivered.
I haven't been able to get this version of the song out of my head for weeks now. I'm okay with that.
Their take on 'Die Die My Darling' is even more unsettling, as they reduce the original's stabbing rhythm and b-movie organ jabs down to a funereal pace, punctuated by eerie piano and Bresson's breathy whisper. She sounds as if she's serenading her victim, the layers of "Don't cry to me, oh baby" build and build over mournful guitar, her detached delivery far creepier than Danzig's psychotic snarl in the original.
The sort of track you'd put on a mixtape to a lover if you wanted them to flee the country in fear.
As an introduction to the band, this doesn't really convey what Monarch! do best, which is mostly long-form funeral/drone doom, but taken as a fun little curiosity, this is one of the coolest things I've heard this year.
You can pick up this 7" as well as other excellent Monarch! records from France-based label MusicFearSatan.
Monarch! on Facebook | Twitter | Sabbracadaver / Mer Morte / Omens on Bandcamp