It’s been a long time coming, from garnering tools, to finally delivering our debut EP, Henosis. There’s been many delays, deliberations, thinking, rethinking, changes in direction, and the inevitable unforeseen (in respect to current global events)… but as with anything, perseverance, persistence, dedication, drive and passion, will eventually reap rewards. That certainly has been the case for Neomantra after 4 and a half years since our inception, and many might question the pursuit of something seemingly struggling to see it’s planets align. However upon first receiving the demo recordings from songwriter Royce Zanetic in early 2017 (more on that story here), I knew this was music that needed to be brought to fruition and into the world, and failure to deliver this conception was no option.
Anyone who has spent time in Royce’s company would quickly ascertain the sheer depth of this man’s profound thirst for the philosophical, the existential, the metaphysical, the sheer wonder and determination to unravel and quantify the notion of ‘self’, and the mysteries behind our existence in the void of space and universe. Henosis dives head-first into these constructs and concepts, and is definitely a conceptual and progressive journey of discovery for the thinkers, ponderers and the intrigued. From the moment I opened the Soundcloud link sent to me by Royce, to be met with a profoundly inquisitive cover image of French philosopher René Descartes famous ‘Mind-Body Problem’ (which now resides as the EP’s cover art), I knew that something unique and equally important had manifested it’s way into my sphere, at the time I was looking for my true calling musically after many failed or insincere music projects I’d dedicated countless years to in seeking my true calling. After regularly receiving offers to collaborate or join projects this was the first time I sincerely loved what I heard, and blasted through the entire 7-track demo I received, craving more as the final track played out. There’s a mysterious magic to this music that is hard to pin down causally.. yet it pulls you in with an unconscious magnetism.
With the magnitude of depth and profanity deserving of Zanetic’s philosophical brainchild, we endeavoured as a band to reflect and embed the consistent concepts and constructs themed throughout the songwriting, into all aspects of Henosis itself. Each track on the EP approaches an alternative philosophical or metaphysical construct, complemented with a recurring theme of ‘equilibrium as the sum of opposites’; dark & light, good & evil, mind & body (dualism), matter vs consciousness – are philosophical concepts embedded throughout the material, but also in the structure of the 5-track EP – from the central pivotal song ‘Dualism‘ presenting a ‘pivotal’ juxtaposition of sorrowful beauty, to its encompassing tracks embodying brutal riffage, despair and internal conflict.. to the 2 preceding tracks ‘Solipsism‘ and ‘Emancipation‘ portraying philosophical constructs embedded with an underlying agonizing internal contemplation of the concepts of “What is ‘real’? Who am ‘I’? What is ‘self’?”. On the countering side of the centrepiece track, realisation of potential explanations for these existential mysteries, through spiritual and philosophical constructs presented in tracks ‘The Absolute‘ and ‘Plato’s Shadows‘ presenting potentially viable explanations to feed our understanding of the notion of self and existence, via the actual works of the great philosophical minds in our world history.
Phew, that was deep… and it is. There’s an undeniable attraction to the workings of Royce’s mind and his shared experiences that I still find myself in some existential awe of, even this far and familiar into living and breathing his work, so ensuring the visibility of the depth of his study of such topics was key to both the music and the concept of this debut EP. The same allure and wonder that no doubt gained the attention of local heavyweight Drew Goddard (Karnivool) to work with us on this project, after initial encounters between Royce and Drew in our small and familiar Perth music scene, sparking deep conversations and similar interests in the existential and the philosophical. A very fateful and incredible fortune to have had such a respected & masterful artist weave his sonic wizardry throughout the initial demos Royce had written, and providing much sage advice on the development and direction of the works as a whole. Neomantra also actually began as an instrumental act, with much deliberation around opening the gates to a different direction, however there were stories to be told in the music, and so (as in line with the overall conceptual theme of equilibrium) vocal content was introduced, but just enough so as to tell the story, and not to pull entire focus to the vocalist, but to instead balance the content throughout so that an instrumental aspect still carries throughout.
There is much mystery that surrounds us, and much potential for the narratives we are institutionalised with in our fleeting lifetime to have potentially misled us from the greater notion of understanding a potentially alternate nature of ‘self’ and consciousness, and a lot to be learned by the inquisitive. The composition of Henosis seeks to entice the inquisitive, and invoke a deeper thinking and consideration to what we perceive to be real at the hand of what we are taught or conditioned to believe. As a band we have strived to channel this concept through this crushingly heavy post-metal genre, bringing further weight to the profound concepts being explored. In contrast it’s incredibly fun stuff to play as well, and through many barriers to finally arriving at this release, we have developed a kinship that is unbreakable; one of the rewarding and priceless aspects that playing music implicitly brings along with it as well.
Written by drummer Greg Turner.
Neomanta is – Royce Zanetic (Vocals/Guitar), Jarod Callow (Guitar),
Marco Cilli (Bass) and Greg Turner (Drums)
Pre-Order/Save Henosis here
Neomantra – Henosis tracklisting
2. Emancipation (Metaphysical Self)
4. The Absolute
5. Plato’s Shadows