Post-rock can often be a troublesome genre. For every band that genuinely do their own thing, there are ten bands who seem content to ape the giants of the genre (Mogwai, Explosions in the Sky, Godspeed You! Black Emperor, etc.), until, putting things blunty, quite a lot of it sounds the exact bloody same - slow intro and gradual build-up into loud, euphoric climax. It's cathartic, sure, but too much of it can diminish its effect. Then there are bands like Mono, a band who usually aren't mentioned in the same breath as the aforementioned bands, but damn well should be. For 13 years, they have created some of the most emotionally-charged stuff in the whole, crowded genre, and fans who were let down (or even remain disappointed) by 2009's Hymn to the Immortal Wind (a great record, but short of the cast-iron brilliance we have come to expect from the band) will be pleased to know that For My Parents isn't just a return to form, it's one of the essential albums of the year.

The Japanese quartet have always had an ear for the cinematic, and indeed, their new record plays out in a manner akin to a film score at times. The use of the Wordless Music Orchestra (making a reappearance after playing a crucial part in the making of 2010's live album Holy Ground) means that it has a different feel to Hymn..., which instead featured a 28-piece chamber orchestra. Comfortable letting their 'songs' unfold more as 'movements', the band seem to have an intricate emotional knowledge; the dips and swells of 12-minute opener 'Legend' are timed perfectly, and its spine-tingling beauty immediately sets the bar high. From there, it is straight into the more meditative 'Nostalgia', and it's the kind of piece that evokes exactly that feeling; its wistful, Eastern-influenced melodies do indeed convey 'the pain of an old wound'. Much of the album attempts to balance things between uplift and melancholy - there aren't many bands who can do it this well.

Lead track 'Dream Odyssey' has been floating around for about a month, and in album context it seems to act as a microcosm of the record as a whole, gradually unfolding over 8 minutes, moving through keys and experimenting with dynamics in its creation of something that manages to sound intimate and colossal simultaneously. This is the sort of music that's every bit as at home in small venues as it is in cavernous ones; its power speaks volumes. Penultimate track 'Unseen Harbor' stretches to 14 minutes, and never seems to drag, despite its funereal tempo - its beautiful melody gently eases the listener in before all hell suddenly breaks loose and the song erupts in a dazzling explosion of noise, delivering the kind of emotional payoff that's been building up over the course of the entire album, but never outstays its welcome. There is a natural flow to these songs that's difficult to convey in mere words. From the heady heights of 'Legend', through its more sombre moments, to the heartstring-tugging closer 'A Quiet Place (Together We Go)', which wraps things up with a flourish, not a moment on For My Parents is wasted. This is Mono back to their best, and as that suggests, it's earth-shattering stuff.