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MONO - Oath

Mono have released a new album and yes, it's a Mono album. So if you already know what that means, you also know what to do, I guess.

MONO -Oath (Moonlight Drawings vinyl 2LP) (2024)

Mono have so much become not only masters of their genre, but actually a definition of their brand of epic instrumental Post Rock, that it's pretty much unthinkable that after decades they would suddenly turn towards something completely different. And especially given how much space for variation their established framework already allows them, why would they even want to do that?

So yes, of course all the dynamics, the long build-ups, the longing and heartache, the hope and heaviness, the overwhelming wall of harmony... it's all there on this new double album once again.
Production-wise Mono is also strong as ever. Laid down in February 2023 "Oath" is among the last recording and mixing jobs of their long time friend Steve Albini, who sadly passed away last month.

The only question is which flavour they have chosen this time. After a couple of rawer and darker albums and a bit of new orientation with the inclusion of fresh elements into their sound on "Pilgrimage Of The Soul" the heavenly cover artwork of "Oath" looks like a continuation of a story which began on said previous album.

And indeed it picks up on some of its stylistic choices, especially with drummer Dahm exploring some more angular rhythmic ideas, which could have been influenced by the work with his duo JeGong and also him drumming live for Årabrot now. (Emphasis on could, because chronologically this doesn't wholly work out.)

Mono live 2022
Even more so however this album breathes a spirit that connects back to works like "The Last Dawn" or "Hymn To The Immortal Wind": It features a string octet and brass quartet and they are both featured a lot throughout the whole double album.

All eleven tracks of "Oath" are just enormously lush and gorgeous, awash with esperance, light and cosmic love. Mono are their most cinematic and solacing self here without repeating their greatest hits.

So far this album grows and grows on me and I want to open my arms in cringy Creed  style wider and wider each time I board this flight. This is music to let your heart float through the sky, unboundedly beautiful and powerful. "Time Goes By" says the carthatically crescending eleventh (and final) track. The feeling of melancholic happiness however lingers long after the seventy minutes of this album have passed.

As usual Pelagic Records offers "Oath" in various - mostly of course now sold out - coloured vinyl variants. I found my favorite outside of the label shop in a retailer version in white, gold and transparent blue this time. Looks and sounds great. Another jewel from the Japanese masters!

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