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.
October 24 (EU)
October 27 (UK)
October 28 (North America)
November 5 (Japan)
Temporary Residence Limited (North America)
Pelagic Records (Europe)
Our two new tracks (out of three), part of our split with our mates of Process of Guilt, are now streaming through our Bandcamp.
Full Stream and Preorders will come soon!
Spread the word and keep in touch. And thanks for the support, again and again!
Goryl - Rebel Angels, Drunk Demons
I confess I’ve never given any of Bunkur’s releases a full listen, mostly out of laziness, but if there are two artists I think of when I listen to Goryl, they are Bunkur, and Dylan Carlson’s more repetitive works such as those on Pentastar and some of his solo projects such as Drcarlsonalbion. Asides from influential and stylistic similarities (Goryl sometimes ripping limbs off Carlson), the repetition is what truly makes Goryl special enough for me to keep banging on about him and get involved with him on my little drone/noise promotion thing. You see, despite much drone rock and metal being repetitive in nature, it is usually long form and slow. Even Sunn O))) only really have one song which has not the latter two qualities; namely It Took The Night To Believe. Fulci’s Dead Lights|Red Sky had the endless riffs but was still slower. I say all of this to put Goryl in context with the overall drone scene, if such a thing exists.
This can quite naturally lead down two roads for new listeners. One road has people struggling to enjoy even passive listening, and the other involves people finding this the musical equivalent of being on a rocking horse whilst very very drunk. I gravitate towards the latter because there’s nothing more relaxing than something that unapologetically bludgeons you with the same riff for 5-10 minutes as you sway back and forth to it.
The lone guitar doesn’t work quite as well for a more sludge/doom-esqe record such as this; bands that worship Earth 2 such as Urr have always known that even something as simple as a backing drone is enough to fill the gaps the chugged chords create. But this is a little niggle and it’s still very pleasant. And that said the third track, Peasant Wanna Be Powerful Demon, has an overtone caused feedback or perhaps simply the guitar’s position from the amp going on after every chord that is held. And considering how badly other artists who have attempted the lone-guitar approach have done (I’m looking at you, He Who Built My Hearse), he deserves respect for just that.
Those good old stoner melodies circle round, seemingly none of them looped. I can hear the subtleties of a player who is not editing parts together much in their DAW and largely working with as few takes as possible. Later in the album things take a more doom-influenced path and any sort of pentatonic riff is lost to long, held chords reminiscent of Aghartha from Monoliths & Dimensions. Feedback is back. Must have the gain up. It really suffers from a lack of multitracking here. A thickness of sound is lost. There’s a huge bang at the end of the penultimate track which I’m not sure about but it certainly made me sit upright.
The final track begins with some distorted and monotone vocals before settling into a much muddier, thicker tone. The signal starts to break up at points - not good - but it’s a lot more encompassing of the listener than the more meditative earlier tracks. But that crackling of an over-increased volume is distracting. Especially for a 40 minute track.
Check it out here.
Earth - Hex; Or Printing in the Infernal Method 2xLP
/500 picture disc || Southern Lord 2005