Mono‘s new, 11th studio album, Pilgrimage Of The Soul was advertised as “the most dynamic MONO album to date”. And it got me very curious about whether it is really that different from their previous ones or if it is just a clever move to well… get you curious. And actually it is both. But it is most definitely true for Riptide, the album opener, which, in a somewhat deceptive manner, starts out slowly, just as most of the band’s tracks, with mellow acoustic guitar sounds and the ethereal atmosphere that they are known and loved for. After reading the promo and knowing the band’s discography you will probably expect the tune to slowly build up to a massive, monumental wall of feedback-heavy guitar noise. But that’s not what happens. As just a minute or so into the track, while you are getting more and more into the chill mood, it suddenly goes BOOM! It blows up, unexpectedly and totally out-of-nowhere and at a rhythm and tempo that’s unlike anything you have even heard from them. And it keeps it up for the rest of the track. Complete with its beautiful, but rather depressing dystopian music video, it is an instant new Mono classic.

But how about the rest of the album? If you expect more of the same sort of whirlwind-like powerful tracks, you will be disappointed. But if all you expect is “just” a strong, yet very typical Mono album, then you are in for a treat. And besides being very typical, it might just be their most diverse release as well. The essential, 100% pure Mono sound is best represented here by Innocence and The Auguries which, besides Riptide are the other clear stand out tracks of the album with their mellow yet heavy sound, going back and forth between the two extremes. On the other hand, the quiet, piano-driven Heaven In A Wild Flower is the complete opposite of Riptide and it may be their slowest track to date. Which says a lot. And if that’s not enough, the closing And Eternity In An Hour is a return to their orchestral, soundtrack-like phase.

All in all, even though not as surprising and different as you might have expected, it is still a very solid release and an interesting new chapter in their discography that, as all their albums since 2014’s The Last Dawn / Rays Of Darkness finds the perfect balance between the calmness and chaos.

Mono: Pilgrimage Of The Soul
2021.09.17 / CD, LP, digital
02.Imperfect Things
03.Heaven In A Wild Flower
04.To See A World
06.The Auguries
07.Hold Infinity In The Palm Of Your Hand
08.And Eternity In An Hour


A year in reviews: in 2021 I was somewhat neglecting the site due to the lack of free time, but now I try to make up for it as much as possible, reviewing several important / good / interesting albums that were released this year. One for each day throughout December, from a very wide spectrum of genres. #2021reviews