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Mar De Grises
The Tatterdemalion Express
April 2004
Released: n/a, Firebox Records
Rating: 4.5/5
Reviewer: Waspman

As I sit here writing this review, I’m almost tempted to just go ahead and end it all, for it is not often that modern day doom bands are able to conjure such feelings of despair and hopelessness as are these new Chilean phenomenons. These five South American manic depressives (it sounds like they are anyway) have only been around since 2000, but they have swiftly mastered their evil craft. Though THE TATTERDEMALION EXPRESS is only the band’s first album, it is of such intensely painful high quality that it is nigh impossible to imagine that the band are new to the scene.

Basically what you get on this disc is the classic Anathema album that we all wish was still within them, I’m talking going back to THE SILENT ENIGMA days here. So, though that will clearly never happen, Mar De Grises have stepped forward to fill the void. Right from the opening drone of “El Otro”, this disc is oppressively slow and heavy, the band venting all of their pent up emotions within their music. Though it is tough to make out what Marcelo is saying due to his use of growled vocals, it is also a testament to the strength of the music that you still feel the pure honest anguish that radiates in some palpable force from the band.

There is not a single bad song on this album, and it almost never becomes tedious to listen to, despite the fact the seven songs clock in at 56:07. The reason, to my ears, is that the band is intelligent enough to throw in the occasional unexpected passage to perk up your ears. For example, take the beginning of “To See Saturn Fall”: it begins with the anticipated dirge but suddenly breaks into a speedy traditional metal-sounding riff that is gone almost before you register what has happened. A similar effect is produced near the end of the song with some left-field drum crashes.

This album is the depressing equal to my other favorite doom band of late; Swallow the Sun, and that band made my Top 10 of last year. You may hear a doom metal album equal to this sometime during the year, but I highly doubt that you will hear one that is better. Highly recommended.
Track Listing

1)El Otro
2)To See Saturn Fall
3)Storm
4)Recklessness
5)Self Portrait No.1
6)Be Welcome Oh Hideous Hell
7)Onrica

Lineup

Marcelo Rodriguez: Vocals, Keyboards, Piano
Rodrigo Morris: Guitars
Rodrigo Galvez: Bass
Sergio Alvarez: Guitars
Alejandro Arce: Drums

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