Tokyo, Japan based 4-piece Instrumental rock band, MONO was originally formed in 1999. Their unique approach of blending orchestral arrangements and shoegaze guitar noise in their music has been held in extremely high regard; so much so, that the band’s musicianship can no longer be sustained by rock music alone and was praised by British music magazine NME as “This is music for the Gods”. Among their fans, they are revered as one of the best live bands in rock.
Through echoes of beautiful, gentle soft strings, and the sudden surge of sound explosions, MONO delivers their ninth album, Requiem For Hell. Unlike their previous album, The Last Dawn / Rays of Darkness - which re-visited much of their earlier sound - MONO once again introduce strings, showing further dynamics and a wider range of colour in their sounds. Written entirely by guitarist Takaakira ‘Taka’ Goto, the five songs that comprise Requiem For Hell perfectly portray the signature orchestrationlike range and dynamics of MONO. Goto commented on the record:
“This album is a series of songs from a flood of inspirations in 2015. After writing song after song and giving them titles, we stumbled upon Dante’s Divine Comedy and the story struck a chord with us. Divine Comedy’s story about travelling down to Hell, through to purgatory, then from Heaven to reality, turned out to be the same theme. This is when we decided to use Gustave Dóre’s illustration from Divine Comedy’s last scene as the main cover."
"Our long-time friend Jeremy (the owner of our American label Temporary Residence) recently had his first-born, named Ely", comments Goto. "Jeremy had been sending us photos and her heartbeats from long before she was born. When Ely was born, we decided to dedicate one of our songs to her, with hopes of her listening to it when she is grown up, and decided to use her heartbeats as an intro on Ely’s Heartbeat." The album was produced, recorded and mixed by Steve Albini at Electrical Audio in Chicago, and mastered by Bob Weston. Albini has worked with band three times previously, and just last year, his band Shellac embarked upon their first tour of Japan in 23 years, co-headlining with MONO.