A cool blue light plays around the disheveled white crow bird, which is oversized in the background of the scene. The spotlight turns, the rays of light pierce the fog on the otherwise empty stage next to an unoccupied battery. Then a vocal duo comes out of the speakers, which is endowed with a lot of reverberation in a high-pitched melody …

A cool blue light plays around the disheveled white crow bird, which is oversized in the background of the scene. The spotlight turns, the rays of light pierce the fog on the otherwise empty stage next to an unoccupied battery. Then a vocal duet comes out of the speakers, which transforms into a high-pitched melody with lots of reverberation. The tension in the audience becomes even greater when a keyboard is lit: there is no restraint when Mono Inc. enters the stage in black suits, pots of smoke explode and the band gives their concert on the stage of the Leipzig park with the song “The Last Crusade” opened.

It was early July, and you could tell the dark rockers on stage as well as those in the audience how much they all enjoy the live music that’s going on again. Even if some might wonder about the new full beard of leader Martin Engler. Finally, the people of Hamburg can present their album “The Book of Fire” in front of the fans. The long player was released in early 2020 shortly before the pandemic and immediately rose to number one on the album charts. For the first time in the history of the group, we don’t really want to talk about bad luck. Although the squad might have felt similar to the Olympians who had trained for a competition that had to be postponed. But of course, groups today mainly do their sales with tours and merchandise. The musicians got smart: so they wouldn’t get stuck on thousands of t-shirts with outdated tour dates, they printed the words “I would’ve been there” on the t-shirts – and sold them all. via the fan shop.

The quartet has gained loyalty and solidarity over more than twenty years, during which they have created eleven studio albums and two live albums, the music of which can be described as dark, symphonic and lively. For some it is too harmless, the compositions are too simple. Many people in Hamburg celebrate this easy and manageable access to the melancholy corner, which is not overwhelmed by branching compositions.

Mono Inc. is owned by the grandchildren of German dark rock, for which first, from the late 80s, groups like Pink Turns Blue and later, in the 90s and 90s, groups like Subway to Sally or Tanzwut paved the way. The name of the group founded in 2000 means “recorded self-delusion”. Bassist Manuel Antoni soon joined founding members Miky Mono (vocals), Martin Engler (drums) and Carl Fornia (guitar), who knew each other from other musical projects. Mono Inc. then rebuilt into the current lineup in 2007: Mono left, Engler took the mic, and Katha Mia, a drummer, applied on her own: According to the anecdote, she had the band as a spectator at the Leipzig Wave-Gotik-Treffen and met then-drummer Martin Engler backstage at a Depeche Mode concert. There she just gave him her number – he would have to call her if he had to break both arms. He later reported without an accident.

Katha Mia can be seen as a great asset in a still very macho business. With statements about tolerance and for humanity, the group has repeatedly stressed its stance against all kinds of discrimination later. They also denounced the issue of domestic violence in a clip. For Engler, on the other hand, going on the mic meant sending the feelings of songs he had already written straight to the audience. After the reorganization of the group, the career of the group gradually developed, more important tours with ASP, Subway to Sally and especially Unheilig helped to massively expand the fan base. Mono Inc. then made their breakthrough with their fifth album “Viva Hades”, which reached number 50 on the German charts in 2011. Models of the group such as Sisters of Mercy, Linking Park and Paradise Lost can be heard here. Mono Inc. does not hide these impulses for their own work when they repeatedly incorporate covers of Iggy Pop to Bush on their albums. The highlight so far was the record “Together Till the End”, released four years ago: big names on the scene like Joachim Witt or Tilo Wolff (Lacrimosa) are involved. The anthem “Children of the Dark” became a popular hit. Above all, the fact that Engler sang in English on the album was convincing. Before that, the group was bilingual and the German lines were sometimes too intentionally pathetic – English is more tolerant of cheesy touches. And one way or another, Mono Inc. seems a bit fresher and more poppy.

Meanwhile, there was some hostility that Mono Inc. would serve the general public too much, be too complacent, and sell itself. Not everyone liked the appearances in the Bild newspaper – the group had to learn to deal with them, as they later described. If you look at the success and the fan relationships today, then Mono Inc. has probably done a lot of good. The group then shows humor with the album “Welcome to Hell”: it deals in a coherent way with the history of the city of their Hanseatic homeland, but also takes up the title of the great anti-G8 demonstration of 2917. Typically for the stage, the content is often about death and separation, loss and finitude in all variations. Conceptually, Mono Inc. is also bowing out, for example when the individual albums focus on medieval and modern topics such as the plague and the persecution of witches. Musically, they mix electric guitars with synth sounds, which like to blend into epic choruses and hymns. The recognition value and suitability for live performances are clearly important to musicians.

The principle also unites the current album “The Book of Fire”, which once again surpassed all previous hits. You get the usual groovy package plus a few gems – which mostly consist of collaborations. Mono Inc. engaged the group Tanzwut with their bagpipes for “Right for the Devil”. “Shining light”, on the other hand, is the English version of Lacrimosa’s “Lichtgestalt” – which frontman Tilo Wolff himself played again. It will be exciting to see how they continue to shape the songs of the live set, how audiences in different places will record them. They didn’t set big goals for themselves, as drummer Katha Mia told Dark Music World magazine amid the lockdown: “No matter when we’re allowed to replay, we’ll try to enjoy it even more consciously than we do. before. After all, the next pandemic may already be in the starting blocks. Society currently seems more divided than ever. Even in our tolerant scene, there is a growing hatred and anger towards others with opinions Let’s try to meet each other with love and tolerance. Currently, I like that it sometimes seems difficult, but I think it is the only way to cope with the current situation. We all have different fears and needs, so let’s try to stay together and listen to each other to understand each other. “

In concert: Mono Inc. can be seen with the current “We are the Raven” tour on July 31 at Wasserschloss Klaffenbach. Tickets are available in all “Freie Presse” shops in your region or online.