Review: The Mon ‘Eye’

For those wondering who is the mysterious entity behind The Mon moniker, it’s Urlo, best known for his work in Ufomammut, the experimental Italian psychedelic progressive doom outfit who have been releasing albums since the early 2000s. Eye marks The Mon‘s sophomore release following 2018s Doppelleben debut, however, tracks have been released intermittently since including a collaboration with Amenra‘s CHVE on the My Rotten Heart EP.

The Mon 'Eye' Artwork
The Mon ‘Eye’ Artwork

According to the promotional notes, in comparison to his day job, the music of The Mon is ‘more introspective and dense’ with songs that ‘flow non-stop into each other’ and this means it’s presumably not as crushing either. That said, the album’s cover reminds me of Unicron, the planet sized antagonist of 1986’s Transformers The Movie who devours everything and everyone he encounters. Will the music have the same effect? Lord only knows, but I am certainly intrigued.

The Sun has a creepy ominous feel to it, and I was reminded of Black Sabbath’s synth heavy Who Are You from Sabbath Bloody Sabbath. Killing Joke also came to the fore with the track reminding me of the more psychedelic Middle Eastern elements that could be found on that band’s underrated Pandemonium album. A fantastic opener.

Secret by contrast is a little more organic with some cool neo-folk flavourings and only the faintest traces of electronica this time around, think a lower-key Hawkwind. Confession features the legendary Steve Von Till‘s gruff Tom Waits-esque vocal style with the music recalling the hypnotic Set The Controls For The Heart Of The Sun by Pink Floyd. It’s absolutely beautiful but then I’d have expected nothing less from an accomplished musician such as Von Till.

neo-folk flavourings and only the faintest traces of electronica… think a lower-key Hawkwind…

The eccentrically titled The Manure Of Our Remains is yet more tasty neo-folk goodness and something of a spiritual piece whose shamanic type chants achieve the album’s mission statement to ‘reach the boundaries of a spiritual soundscape in which the music becomes purification and atonement’, you certainly feel cleansed for having listened to it. This Dark O Mine features some divine violin courtesy of Sarah Pendleton as well as some subtle guitar atmospherics from White HillsDave W. Again, there is a Pink Floyd sensibility present, which is of no great surprise seeing as they have also influenced Ufomammut.

Burning From Afar has you thinking of Rochester, Kent’s finest practitioners of ambient drone In Arcadia and is the primary reason why it’s one of my favourite tracks on the album. To The Ones has the darkness and despondency of classic Joy Division and Mimmi is a tasteful piano instrumental that at a mere two minutes long, serves as a perfect interlude.

Where is an acoustic guitar dominated doom laden piece that is akin to Electric Wizard meets Alice In Chains, heavy in tone and absolutely fantastic to boot, meanwhile Vampyr is another short instrumental that reminds one of the incidental music from The Coen Brothers incredible debut movie Blood Simple, what with the sense of foreboding that it conjures up. Pupi had been released as a standalone single back in 2021 and is a sweet tribute to Urlo’s cat. Its touching without being sickly sentimental and thus a lovely conclusion to the record.

As someone who spends a good deal of his time listening to raging hardcore, gloomy darkwave and chaotic free-jazz (to name just a few), Eye resultantly makes for both a relaxing listen as well as a pleasant and engaging distraction. However, there are enough stylistic deviations that help prevent it from falling into hippy new-age nonsense territory ala latter day Popul Vuh/Jean-Michel Jarre.

Label: Supernatural Cat
Band Links: Official | Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram

Scribed by: Reza Mills