Mono Inc.’s debut album, HEAD UNDER WATER, is an interesting release. I would be hard pressed to call this metal in a traditional sense. It has its heavy moments but there aren’t any screeching guitar solos, blastbeats or growled vocals here. Mono Inc. are a German group who seem to dabble more in the Goth-rock realm, but at the same time, their music is very similar to that of newer Anathema or Katatonia. Heavy, but…something else. The vocalist, who has apparently burdened himself with the silly name of Miky Mono, drones through the music barely wavering from his aptly depressing Goth croon. The music is extremely melodic and catchy but gets bogged down by too many keyboards at times. Drummer Martin Engler seems to be the head of this group as he also produced the CD, wrote the majority of the songs, as well as handles keyboards.
“Burn Me” and “The Last Waltz” are two examples of the metal/pop/goth/rock crossover in European countries that bands like Rammstein and Raunchy ride the wave of. Vastly different bands, but they seem to incorporate many of the same influences to fall under the canopy of metal. “My Sorrow” features that computer-generated keyboard vibe that Saturday Night Live used to mock in its Dieter sketches. Econoline Crush did a track that sounded very similar to this song, but the title escapes me. The weirdest track on HEAD UNDER WATER has got to be “Flies.” This piano ballad with creepy female vocals and buzzing fly sound effects contains some truly morbid lyrics…and that fly just WON’T…STOP…BUZZING!!! “Grown” is another synth-driven track that is full of hooks and unforgettable melodies. The heaviest track on the CD is “Saving You.” Carl Fornia’s driving guitar and Engler’s drums got my head banging right off the bat! At the other end of the spectrum, the last track, “Not Like Me,” is truly a horrible exercise in music. Mono’s vocals are atrocious and the scratchy carnival music seems to be whimsical or something but this track falls flat as a pancake.
The real downside of HEAD UNDER WATER is the vocals of Miky Mono. The monotonous drone begins to grate on your ears after a while and really, he seems to have no range whatsoever. Mono Inc. could really go to the next level with better vocals but with Mono behind the mic, I really see the band limited.
HEAD UNDER WATER is a solid debut from this German four-piece. They certainly will not appeal to the metalhead looking for unrelenting aggression but for those whose tastes lean towards the European Goth rock scene, check out Mono Inc..
KILLER KUTS: “Burn Me,” “The Last Waltz,” “My Sorrow,” “Flies”
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