Japan’s Mono are one of the best post rock bands on the planet when it comes to talent and approach. “Requiem for Hell” is the follow up to the double album “The Last Dawn / Rays Of Darkness.” You could consider that to be two separate albums released together. The sound of each was very different from each other and what came before it. I reviewed that release for PowerofMetal.dk and it was a mixed bag. So which Mono would show up for “Requiem for Hell”?
The easy answer is that this album has a bit of each album but is an easier listen than “Rays of Darkness.” While the lead track “Death In Rebirth” has plenty of post rock power, it also keeps the melody in play as well. The only issue with that track is the incredible noise at the end of the song. I could do without it. The title somewhat references their song on the split single they did with The Ocean called “Death in Reverse.” Next, “Stellar” is a delicate track with strings and piano that could have been on “The Last Dawn.”
The title track is the epic of the album at almost 18 minutes and because of that, the album lives or dies with this song. The main melody line starts the song and Mono know how to build on that melody. They also know when they have a melody that’s as strong as this one, they can really ride it without worrying about it being to repetitious. After 5 minutes or so they glide into the chord progression without the melody and it is so perfect. They add other parts on top of it which underscores the flexibility of the song and just how talented Mono are at arrangements…a mellotron!!! The song does go completely off the rails eventually which WORKS!
“Ely’s Heartbeat” is another post rock gem with tons of atmosphere and a pulsating drum beat that takes over for what does sound like a recording of a heartbeat. The aptly titled “The Last Scene” brings the album to a close. It’s a gentle, almost mournful track that again could have easily fit on “The Last Dawn.” All in all, “Requiem for Hell” is Mono getting back to the business of being Mono. Perhaps the experiments on the double album have bore fruit, regardless this is an album that should please both fans of post rock and this great band.
1. Death In Rebirth
3. Requiem For Hell
4. Ely’s Heartbeat
5. The Last Scene