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Mono Inc. - Ravenblack Award winner

Mono Inc.
by "Metal Mark" Garcia at 23 February 2023, 1:12 PM

People always think that Gothic Metal is a label, but in reality, it’s somewhat a fallacy, or even a trick used to sell and promote bands (just to have an idea of the words some heard, between the years of 2004 and 2007, it was common to hear people saying that NIGHTWISH was a Gothic band here in Brazil). There are Metal acts that use influences of Gothic Rock in their music to the point of almost creating Gothic Rock albums (as THEATRE OF TRAGEDY did on “Aégis”), but to call someone’s work as Gothic Metal is pretty strange (an experience: hear acts as THE MISSION, JOY DIVISION, THE SISTERS OF MERCY and FIELDS OF THE NEPHILIM and try to establish a link with Metal). But there are some surprises in life, as the German quartet MONO INC. gives on “Ravenblack”.

They play a form of Gothic Rock that uses elements that are usual for Symphonic Metal acts (as the massive melodic keyboards parts, distorted guitar riffs and solos). But the accessible melodies with simple technical work on the musical instruments (“Heartbeat of the Dead” bears all the classic elements of the genre, just on an updated form), the introspective appeal (hear it clearly on “Angels Never Die”) and the way of singing state clear that they’re a modern Gothic Rock act. But FUCK OFF the musical labels (who cares for definitions as long as the music is good?), because the work of the quartet is really charming, and it’s an excellent experience, especially for those that still holds ground on the past bands. The future begins now, so pay attention to MONO INC’s music.

The production of “Ravenblack” is something usual both for some Metal genres as for Gothic Rock genres: clean and defined, with everything in its due place, with very good instrumental tunes. All works to take the best of every song, and shows how creative is the quartet, improving their updates to the genre, but holding ground on some classic Gothic Rock elements. “Ravenblack” is really a massive flow of melodies and energy, and it’s full of excellent hooks. “At the End of the Rainbow” is a song that can deceive some fans (due the presence of Symphonic Metal-like elements, as the keyboards orchestrations), but the inner core of the song pulses with Gothic Rock traits, and what lovely chorus. The same happens on “Empire” that bears a more accessible and introspective appeal, based on very good guitars and keyboards arrangements (and again a great chorus is heard).

On “Princess of the Night”, the outfit used on the guitars resembles Metal arrangements, but the simple approach on the instrumental parts creates a total Gothic musical environment (and one can’t forget such chorus). Once more the same set of elements heard on the previous song is repeated on “Angels Never Die”, and what lovely melodies and contrasts between male and female vocals due its deeper and romantic appeal. Bringing all the Gothic Rock set of elements (simple melodies and technical approach, an almost constant rhythm with clear evince of bass guitar) is heard on “Heartbeat of the Dead” (this song has a Hell of catchy chorus, for I had to leave to have my lunch and couldn’t forget it). And “Ravenblack” is another song with a ‘classical updated’ Gothic outfit, with seductive melodies (and a strong and solid playing of the drums).

“Lieb’ Mich” seems to be a song for the fans of their homeland (due its lyrics), and once more some Metal resemblances can be detected on the guitars (and what lovely keyboards arrangements). With a more theatrical/ultra-romantic appeal on the beginning, “Never Alone” has grandiose parts contrasting clean and distorted moments, but soon the song gains some energy, with vocals filling all the spaces. Bearing some heavier moments with a Gothic drapery, “After Dark” is a powerful and charming song. And “Day of Reckoning” is another bombastic Gothic Rock song, with simple and efficient melodies. And closing the album, “Wiedersehen Woanders” is an introspective and melancholic ballad based on the female and male vocals’ contrasts and piano.

If you’re into Gothic Rock genres, “Ravenblack” is right for you. If you’re not, maybe the work of MONO INC is a good chance for you to know the genre.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 10
Memorability: 10
Production: 10

5 Star Rating

1. At the End of the Rainbow
2. Empire
3. Princess of the Night
4. Angels Never Die
5. Heartbeat of the Dead
6. Ravenblack
7. Lieb’ Mich
8. Never Alone
9. After Dark
10. Day of Reckoning
11. Wiedersehen Woanders
Martin Engler - Vocals
Carl Fornia - Guitars, Backing Vocals
Val Perun - Bass, Backing Vocals
Katha Mia - Drums, Backing Vocals
Record Label: No Cut Entertainment


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