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The Last Dawn

Mono — The Last Dawn (October 24, 2014)

            Mono — The Last Dawn 
∩   Constantly evolving instrumental experimentalists from Japan who debuted on John Zorn’s Tzadik label.
Location: Tokyo, Japan
Album release:
♦ October 24 (EU)
October 27 (UK)
October 28 (North America)
November 5 (Japan)
Record Label:
♦ Temporary Residence Limited (North America)
♦ Pelagic Records (Europe)
♦ Magniph (Japan)
Duration:     47:33
1 The Land Between Tides / Glory     11:35
2 Katana     6:21
3 Cyclone     6:24
4 Elysian Castles     8:11
5 Where We Begin     7:25
6 The Last Dawn     8:37
Rays of Darkness is the first MONO album in 15 years to feature no orchestral instruments whatsoever. That fact alone is remarkable given the band's reputation for sweeping, dramatic instrumentals that recall Oscar–worthy film scores. Instead, Rays of Darkness more closely resembles a jet engine taking off inside a small, crowded auditorium. It is MONO’s blackest album ever, a collection of scorched riffs, doom rhythms, and an unexpected contribution from post–hardcore pioneer Tetsu Fukagawa of Envy. The album ends with the smoldering wreckage of distorted guitars and ominous drones playing out a eulogy to the days when MONO shot blinding rays of light through seemingly endless darkness.
♦   When tokyo band MONO began in 1999, they set out with a simple mission: From bliss to bludgeon, no matter how long or winding the path may be. Their debut album, Under The Pipal Tree, outlined that mission in twisted, psychedelic fury. Subsequent albums would see the band honing their craft, mastering their mission, and ultimately abandoning that path in favor of more grandiose pursuits. Flanked by increasingly larger orchestras, MONO performed live at some of the most prestigious venues in New York City, London, Tokyo, and Australia. MONO had become an orchestral rock band, a spectacle of extreme melancholy and melodrama. On 2012's For My Parents, the band had finally reached the logical conclusion of that era; it was time to remember where they started, and to rethink where they were heading. Less strings? No strings? Louder? Quieter? Lighter? Darker? Yes.
  They have released two albums at the same time, the reason being that it is meant to be a creatively disparate concept acting as two sides of a story that is both opposing and complemantary — at the same time!
  On Rays Of Darkness Tetsu Fukagawa of Envy has the honour of being the first person to contribute vocals to a Mono recording.
So lets start with part one:
  To be honest not a lot to say about this, just six really nice laid back instrumentals with occasional bursts of heavy electric guitar.
  As for part two, well ‘Recoil Ignite’ certainly has more life in it, heavy guitar and jazzy drumming for the second half of the 13 minutes and some inspired neo prog timing changes.
  ‘The Hands That Holds The Truth’ is definately a song of two halves, first half very quiet almost too quiet but then the second half, complete with death metal vocals' is an absolute stunner!
  Finally ‘The Last Rays’ with its sludge/doom guitar noise for 6 minutes, is one for those with a lve of the avante garde noise scene.
  So for me anyway the first album is okay but does little to stand out, however the second album with all its different elements and sounds is a must have!
Rating 6/10 and 9/10
For fans of: Brainticket, Isis, Sunn 0))), Phillip Glass, Sci'enta Dystene
Artist Biography by Marisa Brown
  Japanese experimental group Mono came together in 2000, choosing to forgo vocals and concentrate instead on atmospheric, classical–inspired rock music. The foursome, bassist Tamaki (the lone female in the group), drummer Yasunori Takada, and guitarists Takaakira “Taka” Goto and Yoda, released their first full–length record, Under the Pipal Tree, in 2001 on John Zorn’s Tzadik label. In 2003, after switching to Arena Rock Recording Company, Mono issued One Step More and You Die, a remix version of which came out the following year as New York Soundtracks. That same year their fourth album, Walking Cloud and Deep Red Sky, Flag Fluttered and the Sun Shined, recorded in Chicago with producer Steve Albini, was released on Temporary Residence. Albini also performed the same duties on Mono’s April 2006 record, You Are There, and in September the band issued Palmless Prayer/Mass Murder Refrain, a mix between classical and rock that also collaborated with World's End Girlfriend, among others. The fascination with classical arrangements, strings, and atmospheres became an integral part of the band's sound. In 2006 they recorded You Are There, which included cellos on one part of the album and a string section elsewhere while keeping the dynamic and tension–building sound that had become the band's trademark, where beauty and chaos are woven together until they're an inseparable whole. On 2009’s Hymn to the Immortal Wind, the band played live with a 235–piece chamber orchestra that featured woodwinds, reeds, and strings — and added a Hammond B–3 in spots to extend the orchestral dynamic. This culminated in 2010's Holy Ground: NYC Live, with Mono accompanied by the Wordless Music Orchestra, another large chamber ensemble featuring everything from harp and strings to winds and piano, playing the band’s compositions. For 2012’s For My Parents, the band employed a smaller chamber group, conducted by Jeff Milarsky, dubbed "The Holy Ground Orchestra," comprised of two violins, two cellos, viola, upright bass, timpani, and cymbals.
Website: http://www.monoofjapan.com/

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