Mono / The Ocean - Transcendental

by Brian Lange. Rating:8 Release Date:2015-10-24

Two epic tracks, two epic bands. Both from opposite ends of the globe and relatively different styles. Yet, these two bands come together on an EP that holds together in a conceptual work of pain, suffering, spiritual victories, and immortality. The unbelievably beautiful cover art by German artist Florian Bertmer really frames what you’re in store for with this diptych of music. 

Japan’s MONO and their signature guitar crescendos are unmistakable and give the listener goosebumps. Germany’s The Ocean deliver underworldly rock that will make you want to fight Satan himself. Despite being from two very different places culturally, it is only fitting that these two bands are now touring together. Different sounds, maybe even different genres, but they still come together in a powerful work that stands tall.  Though each band contributes just one song for this record, it clocks in at almost a half-hour long.  Perhaps akin to the likes of epic ballads like GY!BE, this is not just a little sampler of music.  It should be considered a record in it’s own right. 

MONO does have a new album on the way in 2016, and according to the band this is a sample of what is in store for their 9th studio album.  According to songwriter/guitarist Takaakira Goto, “The theme of this track is life and death and regeneration. Even when our bodies decay and decompose, our souls will prevail unchanged. Our bodies will act as seeds for the next generation, while our souls will journey together into our new eternal life. This is the story we want to explore with our next album, a portrayal of our journey through life towards death; from living out our lives proud and high, to bodies immolating, infused with precious memories… and through the vast, noisy tunnel of space, we become pure souls – a single drop of water in the fountain of life.“

The Ocean was inspired by Gaspar Noe’s controversial movie Enter The Void, which illustrates the journey of a young man immediately after he is shot while high on DMT.  The film also bases a lot of it’s premise on the Tibetan Book of the Dead, and what happens to a soul after it leaves the body.  This book has not only inspired The Ocean, but other artists and musicians such as John Lennon and Aldous Huxley. 

The split EP comes on a single slab of 12″ vinyl in different colours, matching Bertmer’s lucid illustration and limited to only 150 copies each.  They really are works of art in themselves, and a wonderful compliment to the music. 

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