Here we have it folks, the first review of the site.
Mhönos started out as a one-man-band hailing from Rouen, France. The first album, and one which will be discussed, is entitled, “Miserere Nostri.”
This whole album was done by Frater Stéphane, the founder of the group and recorded via a portable studio set up (later mastered in a professional studio). Strangely, or awesomely, however you want to look at it, this whole album was recorded in a small chapel, The Chapel of Sainte Croix,(or “Holy Cross” in English) in his hometown courtesy of the Monks that live at the Chapel.
Now, the music, and I apologize for still being stuck in my college writing rut. (aka, can’t be clever, just factual)
When Frater Stéphane got in touch with me and described Mhönos as “a French drone metal band very influenced by 90’s black metal scene,” I immediately paused and thought how painful the word Drone is. Any time I hear the word “drone,” I picture the end of the world as a robotic hum plays out in the distance. Body parts being ripped off and thrown to the ground or used against the people who created the machines in the first place. Basically, technology taking over the world and molesting everyone in it. That really has nothing to do with the music though, just my first thoughts on the word “drone” Their lyrical influence stems from Mysticism, Introspection, and Misanthropy, which is much different compared to my general idea.
The music itself is indeed as he described. Drone music, heavily influenced by the early 90’s Black Metal. The sound quality is low, but akin to what was being done in Black Metal at the time of his influence. The droning at times seems to last forever (also in part to accidentally hitting the repeat button), but there is so much more here than just that. The wall of sound is thick, and always slow, other times it seems to fade behind a mask into an almost ritualistic chant (he did say he was also influenced by Tibetan Monk Choirs) with eerie landscapes helping develop layers of character within the music itself. This chanting, is as tortured sounding as it is enjoyable.
I personally am impressed at the mere thought of including such a different style of singing (the Tibetan Monk influenced sound). I never would have thought in a million years of combining that style in with drone or black metal. I guess we all sometimes just get into these preconceived notions of what a genre should contain rather than letting the music just be itself, whereas I think Frater Stéphan is doing just that, letting his music breathe through him.
The third track on the release, Offertiorum, I personally feel, is a bit of a sidetrack. The keys in the song seem almost too generic at times, not giving it an eerie feeling as much as it just gives you the impression that Dimmu Borgir might be coming onto the stage next. Aside from this track, I really have no other complaints on this album.
Track two, “Sequentia,” offers up a fine helping of the throat-singing style, (I’ll add a video of this below, I first heard of this form of singing probably seven years ago, have never forgot it. It’s awesome)while a layer of drone plays. The two are a perfect match for each other.
The hollowed out, recorded in a cellar sound fits the music perfectly, the vocals are unique, albeit indecipherable (more so than usual), and the instrumentation rides through an ample supply of Amp-Worship. (get it?)
On an end note, Mhönos, is now a full fledged band, after label, Doomanoid, proposed the idea of doing shows, Frater Stéphan collected some friends and began performing and working on new material. The new album, “Humiliati” is currently in the works and is looking at a release date sometime around next November. I also have a roughly 30 some odd minute Live Show to review for Mhönos as well, but I’ll get to that at a later time.
Here is a video for the chanting/throat-singing (correct me if I’m wrong, YouTube lies, or if I’m far more clueless than I feel about the act itself)
Here’s a link to the homepage