Mono

Requiem For Hell

Written by: LF on 22/12/2016 13:37:36

The acclaimed instrumental post-rock group Mono from Japan have been playing in Denmark at least since 2007 but in the past years, people here seem to have really picked up on their music. This is a great thing as we might then get the chance to hear more of their extensive repertoire of long songs live. "Requiem For Hell" is the band's ninth studio album and only adds more masterpieces as it continues in the crushing-yet-delicate style that has become characteristic of the group.

While the entire record is best listened to as a whole for full effect, "Death In Rebirth" is no doubt the song that stands on its own the best. It picks up pace stubbornly, relatively quickly and to the point considering that it is still a standard Mono-song of about eight minutes. It is one of the aggressive-sounding tracks here along with the titular "Requiem For Hell" which makes up the middle eighteen minutes of the album. It is an entire world on its own as it ever so slowly builds up, recalling the swirling grandiosity of spirits or angels on the cover art, moving ever closer to the brightly shining middle, sounding beautiful yet terrifying. It is furthermore divided into two pieces, the second section beginning around the ten-minute mark where a new rhythm and a new level of cacophonic sound builds up and takes over to unsettling effect.

After each of these crushing tracks, we find "Stellar" and "Ely's Heartbeat" that serve to take down the pace and provide contrast and breathing space for your ears in between the louder pieces. They thus shine extremely bright in context but at the same time, they also provide their own intense and personal soundscapes. The glockenspiel that is a loyal companion on most Mono albums makes its appearance in "Stellar", while strings can also be heard across the record, helping to create the intense layers of sound that Mono are famous for. In the end, we are carried out by the beautiful and sentimental "The Last Scene" that tugs at the heart with its use of strings and high notes.

There is no doubt that Mono is one of the very best post-rock bands when it comes to channeling the ebbing and flowing of grand soundscapes. Their songs have a great level of detail in them that can really be heard when you're listening attentively to them at home. On the other hand, their most crushing parts are for me better experienced live as on record they will always lack that very physical heaviness that makes them truly impressive. As such, this is a great album but also one that requires the right frame of mind for it to really bestow its grandeur on the listener, otherwise it has a tendency to work "just" as brilliant background music.

Download: Death In Rebirth, Requiem For Hell
For The Fans Of: Caspian, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, This Will Destroy You
Listen: facebook.com/monoofjapan

Release date 14.10.2016
Temporary Residence

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