Thursday, December 27, 2018

Mare : "Ebony Tower"

This is why I try to hold out on my end of the year lists as this album might have made the black metal one. They have always been slightly left of center from the other Norwegian black metal bands and this album takes some of the more traditional black metal trapping and merges it into more melodic form of metal without sacrificing any of the darkness.  Fast and aggressive without depending on blast beats to do all of their dirty work. The firs song stands out as they use sung vocals in a manner not unlike what Urfaust does.They have been around for almost 20 years and this is their first full length. With members of bands like Behexen and Vemod on board, they pursue his with clarity and class. The production serves the over all sound and they are not trying too hard to be cult.

The second song finds them getting more aggressive to the point of heading in a more death metal direction, due to the abundance of double bass and the low growls, they are good at this and walk a line with the darkness that keeps a black metal vibe to it even when racing in the death metal direction. "These Fountains of Darkness" finds them laying on a hammering speed that they smooth out into a more deliberate stomping melody. The vocals come closer to being sung then a croak or growl. The ten minute "Nightbound" opens with the rumble of bass. It lurches into a throb that is accented by double bass in spurts. The vocals fluctuate between sung and more guttural snarl that is more of a hint than a full commitment into being a Cookie Monster.  They are in a similar zip code as Rotting Christ on this one.

The album closes with the 12 minute "Labyrinth of Dying Stars" . They do some weird panning effects to create a thicker atmosphere while utilizing more of the stock and trade black metal sounds. The vocals are more of a narrative at first . The song ebbs into more of a throb with the vocals shifting into a chanted chorus and back down into a serpentine gurgle. By the midway point of the song it has taken on almost more of a doom feel. I'll give this album a 9, it was really satisfying and fans of black metal who are tired of the same old blast beats should certainly check it out.

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