Nemorensis / Monvment Split

9/17/21 | J.R.

Nemorensis/Monvment split art by Reuben Sawyer

Re-emerging in the Internet era brings about a new perspective when it comes to timelines. Something which was crafted eons ago could have been made yesterday due to its availability and the perfect recreation of the quality in which it was captured. It exists on a page or in a file which can be recreated, converted, played, paused, and so on. The Internet imbues a form of life onto the creations it hosts; so long as it exists, so does the art within it. This makes bands from times past like, say, Nemorensis and Monvment, living documents within its purview, and though the time passed between each Nemorensis or Monvment (or Monument) release can be relatively staggering (like the eight years since Monvment's Geminae 7" on the pre-Skjold label Dead Section Records [RIP Lasse]), listening to new material from both bands on their impending split recalls the black metal these artists created from a bygone era.

Nemorensis, an atmospheric black metal project helmed by Ross Major (also of Malfet, At Dusk, and Stygian Obsession), ventures into different territory on this new split release. This isn't necessarily unexpected from a project which, across its three releases to date, takes nuanced approaches to a more spacious and grandiose form of black metal, be it The Lady in the Lake's impenetrable, dreamy buzzing or The Fae Queen's more gothic touches. "Maiden of the White Hands," Nemorensis' sidelong composition, looks to Major's recent bouts with death metal to imbue a particularly cavernous and haunting song with a previously unseen heaviness to pair with returning influence from the rest of the project's catalog. Featuring ritualistic ambiance and heavy, funereal doom metal to round their half out, the multifaceted "Maiden of the White Hands" is as restless as Nemorensis' back catalog: reaching out for new influence and masterfully incorporating it into a centralized-but-shifting core.

Nemorensis/Monvment insert, &quotThe Maiden" depicted by Katie Bailey, photography by Ian Thompson

Monvment's return was a bit of a surprise. I was a big fan of this project during the first wave of internet download-and-review blogs (which is an interesting thing for which one can feel nostalgia), but when project mastermind and Sol y Nieve Records founder Noah Coleman moved from Chicago to Idaho in 2013, it was as if he left Monvment behind, and so the project was laid to rest until now,eight years later, with this new split's impending release. With a sidelong track to match Nemorensis, Monvment's "Luminate Portare (In the Face of Dead Tongues)" is absolutely blistering, but carries a peculiarity to it by way of wobbling ambiance and distant pipe organs. Equally as riffy as Nemorensis' heavier passages, Monvment's riff-by-riff and atmosphere-on-atmosphere approach, often pairing transitions with just as wild keyboard flourishes and dime-stop dynamic mischief. Moving into quieter territory, elements of Coleman's power electronics and black metal hybrid project Ten Thousand Miles of Arteries find their way into the fold, manifesting as textured noise and vocal manipulations during the song's most tender moments. Even so, this 23-minute epic never dwells on single styles or riffs for too long, which has always been Monvment's strong suit. Just as restless as his split partner, Monvment's worship at the altar of the bizarre and unique is always moving, always shifting, and always interesting.

Nemorensis/Monvment split insert

So, then… why bring up the past? It's simple: listening to these new tracks from previously potentially defunct artists is a time capsule, returning the listener to when they might have been more active, placing them on a linear path from their impetus. Don't think of this as a reunion release, rather, think of it as a portal to a previous time, and maybe use this as an opportunity to listen to Nemorensis and Monvment's music as if it was new. It still is. It will always be.

Nemorensis/Monvment split on the Pacific Threnodies Bandcamp.

Nemorensis/Monvment split from Expansion Abyss.

Nemorensis on Bandcamp.

Monvment on Bandcamp.