Mares Of Thrace are a band apart from the norm. Merely sound-wise they stick outside of the given genre parameters. Meanwhile, one look at their facebook page or the statement they make in a live setting will give any people wanting to pigeonhole them a whole new headache.
Let's get this out of the way first, Mares are a two piece female metal band from Calgary, Alberta. So there is the first thing that makes them stand out amongst their peers. The second half is that they deal in a style of metal that combines the sludge of Jucifer, the noise of The Jesus Lizard and the abject fury of the best hardcore could possibly hope to offer.
The band start with a bang out of the gate mixing all three of these descriptors into Act 1 of 3 withing the course of the album. "Act I: David Glimpses Bathsheba" begins with distortion and a mighty roar breaking out quickly only to fall into and angular riff fest that helps to build the ebb and flow of the song. This continues with a palpable fury until the track dies in a wave of feedback. This is a trick of sorts that they use to great effect throughout the record. They use the sludge parts to build a canvas of sorts that they use to paint their chaotic noise parts all over.
While this seems counter intuitive on their part the band uses this consistently and quite well. The chaos helps to keep the songs moving while the sludge helps to almost tame things when necessary. The real treat is the way the each instrument interacts. The drums sound massive like the boulder from Raiders Of The Lost Arc just waiting to mow you down through the speakers. The mixing only helps to accentuate how much force they are played with. The guitars, meanwhile, are consistently blown out giving the sludge parts an almost shoegaze feel. That is not to say Mares are going to rival My Bloody Valentine in that sense but it would seem that the same recording tricks were used to make things sound so visceral. The vocals could never be mistaken for something to come from the throat of a stereotypical female. There is nothing gentle or loving in relation to the vocals. Everything relies on fury and periodic restraint other than the vocals.
Overall this is very clearly written well documented combination of the bands mentioned earlier for every thrust of sludgy power there is a noise rock riff reveling in angularity not too far behind. This is a band that should be experienced (preferably in the live setting).
8.1 / 10
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Big kudos are due to Justin Mitchell of Cold Spring for making this release possible, and bringing to life one of the strangest meeting of the minds. Irwin Chusid of ...
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