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MONO/ The Ocean Transcendental Review

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On October 10th, 2015 two bands from very different regions, Japan and Germany released a split EP entitled . The EP consists of only two tracks. TranscendentalThe Ocean’s track entitled “The Quiet Observer” is a 13 minute journey based on Gaspard Noe’s controversial movie . Mono’s contributionaddresses a similar subject with their 11 minute song entitled “Death In Reverse”Enter The Void 

I was immediately attracted to this EP because its highly conceptual subject matter. After all, some of my all time favorite albums are concept albums so I am always looking for an opportunity to add another to my personal list.

“Death in Reverse” is beautiful, adventurous track performed by the Japanese instrumental rock band Mono. The song is one giant 11 minute build up, making me realize that the track is quite appropriately named. It starts from silence which I interpret as death, and builds into a highly complex textured wall of energy which I interpret as birth. For me, the song represents a lifetime played backward. Here’s what guitarist and principle songwriter Takaakira Goto says about it.

“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 (a.k.a The Ocean Collective) is a progressive metal band from Berlin Germany. Their contribution to Transcendental is a 13 minute song entitled “The Quiet Observer”. This track was inspired by Gaspard Noe’s controversial movie . If you haven’t seen this movie, it depicts the story of a drug dealer getting shot in a Tokyo bathroom while tripping on a psychedelic drug known as DMT causing him to enter mental state between life and death. This phenomenon known as the “intermeadaite state” has been addressed artistically by musician John Lennon and academically by Philospher Aldous Huxley. This track has noticeably heavier feel to it. As I listened, I heard the emergence of a sludge metal influence particularly in the rhythm section of the band. As it progresses, the song takes on a life of its own creating a powerful and intimidating atmosphere. Enter The Void

Overall, this split EP was well worth the listen. takes Two incredibly talented bands from vastly different regions, places them in the same environment yielding remarkable results. As an avid listener of instrumental rock music, I favored Mono’s track over The Ocean’s but was equally impressed by the musicianship of each group. The two will be touring Europe this winter and I can only hope these two bands decide to collaborate again in the future.Transcendental