Live Review: Mono, Tangled Thoughts Of Leaving, Mt Mountain

7 December 2015 | 4:42 pm | Kane Sutton

"The soft tap of the snare kicked in and the song began to build into this hugely triumphant piece that could bring the hardest of people to tears."

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It's been several years since Japan's Mono journeyed to Perth, and with a number of albums added to their catalogue since, punters bore witness to a handful of live versions of tracks for the first time, as well as some older favourites, in what was a massive evening for instrumental rock music. Locals Mt Mountain had ears ringing from the get go with throbbing, drawn-out guitar riffs, but the most notable element of the set was the ferocity with which drummer Thomas Cahill attacked his set — it was great to see. Tangled Thoughts Of Leaving upped the ante considerably — they played two monstrous tracks over the course of 45 minutes, and both weaved their way through a number of different styles including elements of math-rock, doom, jazz and more, with each member's instruments seemingly taking turns in being the prime focus of a particular section.

Mono casually made their way onto the stage as a dramatic orchestral soundtrack played through the speakers, thoroughly building the anticipation. Then the opening notes of Recoil, Ignite — the opener from the band's recent record Rays Of Darkness — began to play, and the whole room was immediately transfixed. The band members eased themselves into the performance at the same pace as the music, building themselves up before the band's signature climaxes would peak and each individual member would launch full throttle into their instruments — Tamaki Kunishi in particular was a huge presence in the middle as she threw herself around the front of the stage. Takaakira 'Taka' Goto mostly kept himself knelt on the floor, hunched over his guitar, while Yasunori Takada was commanding behind the drums. Pure As Snow, from arguably the band's most popular album — 2009's Hymn To The Immortal Wind — was as beautiful as the band get: the echoed guitar melody pairing was absolutely stunning in the opening minutes, before the soft tap of the snare kicked in and the song began to build into this hugely triumphant piece that could bring the hardest of people to tears. Closer Requiem From Hell was a monster of a track, but the highlight was probably the penultimate song, Ashes In The Snow, also from ...Immortal Wind — an almost paralysing experience thanks to fuzzy droning and crescendo-driven guitars that encapsulates the band's mastery of composition and build-ups. There's a reason Mono are at the forefront of their field, and that they've managed to completely spellbind audiences around the world for over 15 years is a true testament to just how powerful and compelling instrumental rock can be.