Japanese post-rock band Mono has returned with more mood music just in time for your fall and winter blues. Their latest single, "Ely's Heartbeat," keeps with the group's penchant for subtle yet felt instrumentation, and was the perfect prelude to this compact yet still heavy new album.
The first track, "Death in Rebirth", is perhaps an allusion to their previously released 2015 song "Death in Reverse." The themes of love and loss, death and birth, and the beginning, end, and overall circularity of life are reflected upon strongly throughout Requiem For Hell. Each track begins softly, often ending with heightened intensity and crescendoed longing. "Death in Rebirth" sets the tone for the rest of the album; think crashing drums and at-first muted guitars ending in wails towards song's end.
"Stellar" follows, beginning with pensive-sounding strings (synth?). The song leaves enough silence to make you rethink all your life's decisions, yet somehow retains a certain element of comfort to cushion your (inevitable) fall. "Stellar" sounds like a rainy day puddle slowly growing on city asphalt, or like the beginning of a child's life. In quintessential Mono style, the song is slow yet deliberate; quiet, yet full of intention
The titular "Requiem for Hell" feels foreboding from the first few seconds, hinting at something great. It slowly erupts into something more chaotic, and is undoubtedly and fittingly the climax of the album. The lead guitars become more pronounced, eventually taking over; the atmosphere is then thrown into overdrive. The earlier "whimpering" heard in "Death in Rebirth" and "Stellar" becomes full-on shouting. However, the thoughtfulness established earlier on isn't lost in this chaos – it is just further exaggerated and dramatized, and effectively so.