MONO should need no introduction, starting in 1999, they have become the finest Japanese post-rock band that will only ever need one song or performance to prove why. With extensive touring and releases, they blend an intense mix of genres from classical to noise to create their wonderful sound, music that has an impact only matched by their superb live performance.
'Requiem for Hell' brings their latest offering that is true to tradition. It playing experience is akin to witnessing the development and closing of the greatest storm. Fading in with 'Death In Rebirth', the eloquent beauty of their writing is present from the start, like the gathering of storm clouds picking up in strengthening winds. 'Stellar' beginning gently like the first drops of rain, before swelling up washing away everything in it's path as it's piano lead simplicity, the stripping back and lightness of the track is one that can really stir emotion and lose yourself in.
Just as 'Stellar' grew, 'Requiem For Hell' brings in the all powerful destruction that storms are. Just shy of 18 minutes, it really plays through every part with both the inner peace of an eye of a hurricane and all of the destruction and war that mother nature can muster around the outside. Never losing its way the majestic journey this track alone takes you on is truly impressive, but this is nothing but expected for fans of the band knowing this is exactly what they are capable of writing. It really brings everything together with true, uncontrollable beauty.
'Ely's Heartbeat' is a much more calming approach as the title may suggest. That human instinct of caring for life takes control in you as the heartbeats fade in and out throughout. A stronger approach grows and it breaks out, akin to the first rays of light breaking through the clouds. 'The Last Scene' ends in an eerie moment of clarity of everything you just witnessed. In closing the album, it takes you back to that point as it started with the dissipation of the storm. Unto others, the landscape looks unchanged, but you have inside you that calming knowledge of how the landscape was molded and plunged into darkness and wrecked by something beautiful. You find yourself weathered by the storm and its lasting impression forever imprinted in you as it leaves you in the quietness that follows in peace.
For fans of the band, it is honest, expected, and nothing short of outstanding. For those experiencing MONO for the first time, if they like it, I have no doubt they will be looking about to buy the rest of the epic back catalogue.
Requiem for Hell is released October 14th and will also be available through the groups bandcamp page here