Mono
Hymn to the Immortal Wind


3.0
good

Review

by Derek Marchewka USER (21 Reviews)
December 4th, 2009 | 87 replies


Release Date: 2009 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Hymn To The Immortal Wind demonstrates both the good and bad aspects of Post Rock.

With a genre like Post Rock, only the brave prosper. It’s conventions are so arduous that very few groups have the chops to succeed. There is a delicate balance between achieving that sought after epic sound and overdoing it, so it’s no surprise that only a handful of bands come to mind when thinking of the greats in the genre. When earlier this year Mono released Hymn To The Immortal Wind, many rejoiced and celebrated it, hailing it as a marvel to the genre, Best Post-Rock Album Of All Time titles were administered, and it seemed that they were slowly associating Mono with that handful. Now to some context, all of this can be warranted; the album’s scope and technical achievements are all terrific; the cold and aquatic atmosphere is captured to great effect. There is a lot of reasoning behind why this album is so well-liked. But as I mentioned earlier, there is a fine line between bold and excessive. Mono have crafted an album that is a bit of both.

To get one thing straight though; the album is epic. The group accentuates its classical instrumentation with blistering guitar crashes and complex drum patterns. Like most in the genre, the songs start off in very minimalist ways, while slowly building layers and sections into grand climaxes. The atmospheres they create are, at first listen, bold and serene, with a grandiose sense of approach in every song. This makes for good songs, but not good albums. In context to the entire package, the album is too epic. It has little variety, and the constant barrage of intense buildups and homogeneous atmosphere really takes that sense of epicness away and replaces it with redundancy.

The album is quite long, clocking in at over an hour. This length wouldn’t be as big of an issue if there was any change within the record. Each and every song on the album follows the same pattern; soft string/guitar/piano begins the piece, with different build ups that inevitably grow into a very loud and pronounced ending. This style can be very captivating, and there certainly are moments where this is achieved; The gentle riff on Pure As Snow(Trails Of The Winter Storm); the beautiful piano in Everlasting Light; The brooding climax of Ashes In The Snow. All of these pinpointed movements are great, but there’s not enough variety within them. This genre can get boring very fast when every song mirrors one another. Every single song follows the same routine; quiet to loud, with very homogeneous instrumental sections and emotional atmosphere, and it leaves the entire experience diminished. I would have much rather have seen them take different approaches with their songs and create some different ambiances that compliment each other. Each song on here breeds a very cold, blue ambiance, and although there are moments of beauty, they are very bogged down.

Hymn To The Immortal Wind is tremendous and unsettling at the same time. Mono's scope is so grand, their musicianship is terrific, but they don’t step outside their comfort zone in terms of songwriting. Post Rock can produce some of the greatest music ever because it is so unrestrained, but it takes a lot of innovation to succeed, something that Mono lack on this release. Is Hymn To The Immortal Wind full of good songs? Absolutely. But does every song use the exact same format to achieve that greatness? Yes, and that is where the album’s major flaw ultimately lies.



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user ratings (856)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
jybt (4.5)
The grandiose album title "Hymn to the Immortal Wind" is successfully translated into a soul-stirrin...

FourSquare20 (5)
Mono achieve what countless other post-rock bands can only strive for....

Adam Knott EMERITUS (4.5)
Even the silence between songs is flawless....

Adam Downer STAFF (4.5)
On Hymn To The Immortal Wind, Mono multiply the successes of You Are There by 3 and come away with t...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Chewie
December 4th 2009


4532 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

oh god, what have I done...

Relinquished
December 4th 2009


25500 Comments


NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

Ulsufyring
December 4th 2009


1724 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nope you're wrong

klap
Staff Reviewer
December 4th 2009


10544 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

100% agree

Digging: Jessie Ware - Tough Love

Ulsufyring
December 4th 2009


1724 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

nope you're wrong


Nagrarok
December 4th 2009


8293 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!

Oh wait, Relinquished beat me to it.

Poet
December 4th 2009


5935 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

. In context to the entire package, the album is too epic.

Too epic isn't bad

Fugue
December 4th 2009


7354 Comments


100% disagree

Digging: Damien Rice - My Favourite Faded Fantasy

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
December 4th 2009


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

This is a well written review, but it seems to me like you're missing the point of the album altogether. The homogeneity of this album is what gives it its definite atmosphere and singularity. Sure the songs are predictable, but since when have Mono ever been into playing with convention? They are doing what every post rock band who uses this soft-loud formula wishes they were doing. In this, Mono have created the ultimate post-rock record, as this is a collection of the prettiest, most epic songs to be found within the genre next to Sigur Ros' "Ara Batur." There's no need to fear the negs, as you explained your point well, but obviously I disagree with it and believe your approach to the album to be just off.

Ulsufyring
December 4th 2009


1724 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

i just think it's retarded that anyone can think there's a necessary approach for an album

Chewie
December 4th 2009


4532 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I guess I only dig this type of music in small doses then.

Fugue
December 4th 2009


7354 Comments


You just got Downered.

In fairness review is well written.

Nagrarok
December 4th 2009


8293 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

The homogeneity of this album is what gives it its definite atmosphere and singularity. Sure the songs are predictable, but since when have Mono ever been into playing with convention? They are doing what every post rock band who uses this soft-loud formula wishes they were doing. In this, Mono have created the ultimate post-rock record, as this is a collection of the prettiest, most epic songs to be found within the genre


All ye truth layeth here.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
December 4th 2009


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

i just think it's retarded that anyone can think there's a necessary approach for an album


sure there is. It's like this in any form of art. For example, understanding the historical and cinematic context of say Citizen Kane will help one understand why so many other people call it the greatest film of all time. And we've seen it many a time this year where an album will get a lot of hype which will cause a lot of people to get it with a skepticism and expectations that of course cannot be met so the album's immediately written off.

Relinquished
December 4th 2009


25500 Comments


Review was well done tbh

but...

nope you're wrong


Nagrarok
December 4th 2009


8293 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

Review's well-written btw, although I do not agree with a few of your points, mostly about it being too epic. You could have mentioned how Follow the Map is a superb break from the epics.

Chewie
December 4th 2009


4532 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

pos me please.

And I find that Follow The Map follows the exact same pattern but in mini form.

Ulsufyring
December 4th 2009


1724 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

well i just think that as a form art should be taken however you want to take it, and telling someone they're doing it wrong implies that the way you are doing it is the right way, the only way

i mean, agree with you, there's something wrong if he doesn't think this is great post-rock, but at the same time, i think telling him he's just "got it all wrong, look at it this way" is kind of arrogant... what if he likes the way he sees it?

ninjuice
December 4th 2009


6760 Comments


I don't know near enough about post rock to argue this but the review was well written. I'll be the first to pos it.

Electric City
Staff Reviewer
December 4th 2009


15743 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5 | Sound Off

well i just think that as a form art should be taken however you want to take it, and telling someone they're doing it wrong implies that the way you are doing it is the right way, the only way

i mean, agree with you, there's something wrong if he doesn't think this is great post-rock, but at the same time, i think telling him he's just "got it all wrong, look at it this way" is kind of arrogant... what if he likes the way he sees it?


yeah I guess. It doesn't have to be his thing, but I'm just explaining why I disagree with his review while trying to put some context around why it's so popular among other people.



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