Mono just keep getting better. Ten years, and five albums, and a steady improvement throughout. 'Hymn To The Immortal Wind' is their greatest effort yet - shimmering and epic. Anyone familiar with their work will recognise how they masterfully climb the mountain from a whisper to a roar and back down again. This album seems to whisper more delicately and roar with such ear-splitting intensity that it's almost impossible not to be overwhelmed.
The interplay between Yoda and Taka's guitars is impeccable, and the washes of lush strings do nothing to detract from the beautiful core of the band's playing. Taka's arrangements really do emphasise the beauty of these compositions.
Almost all of these pieces are on the epic scale - 10-13 minutes apiece, and this is not overblown self-indulgence at all - each piece follows its own distinctive path to its own logical conclusion.
Having heard how integral the string arrangements seem to these pieces, I thought that it would be difficult for Mono to play this album live without them. How wrong I was. They captured all the passion, emotion and intensity of each composition beautifully (except 'Silent Flight, Sleeping Dawn', where the strings are so integral to the piece, without them it would have been a piano solo). The strings seemed like dressing. If you get a chance to see them playing this album live, don't pass it up. It's quite a breathtaking experience.