Released: 2010, Arctodus Records
Summer is a great time for discovering new music. This month I’d like to introduce our readers to seven newer bands from the province of Alberta, Canada. I’ve asked some local bands of different styles to participate and they all said yes. Western Canada is already well-known in the global scene with veteran bands like Three Inches of Blood, Into Eternity and Divinity and so now we introduce to a crop of promising young hopefuls from Alberta. Feel free to check out the other reviews in this series including, Chron Goblin, Derailed, Hellrazer, Kobra And The Lotus, Striker and The Unravelling.
Mares of Thrace are one of the more unique and interesting band to come around in recent years. This two piece evolved from a short-lived local act called Tosca. There is enough talent and creativity that they caught the ear of D5 and Hogan Media who are helping push the debut album. Their intial offering is this great debut album. An indie, but professional job sees nice packaging presentation, lyrics included and good production. The cover is weird but appealing and eye-catching nonetheless. The overall theme and concept of the band is very intelligent and well-though out, doing something different to stand out from the pack.
Usually I don’t automatically gravitate to the quirky two-piece, minimalist type acts. I’ve always felt in metal that more is more. As Yngwie Malmsteen succinctly put it, “Less is not more. More is more.” However, in this case I’m pretty impressed with the stripped down sound. Sonically speaking, their sound is full enough that the absence of bass is not a critical flaw, in fact unconventional delivery is what makes it a bit more interesting.
Some people have classified Mares as Doom. Certainly not in the conventional Candlemass sort, but there is a sense of foreboding and an overall ominous feel to many of the songs. It’s too weird to be just ‘doom’, but I can see Doom fans enjoying it. It’s far more avante-garde and progressive. Not progressive in terms of uber-long songs but a lack of traditional song structure. It’s almost like an uncontrolled jam that never quite gets out of control. Very harsh vocals, and the occasional cleaner vocal are mixed a little farther back in the mix at times, almost overpowered by the drums with lots of great rolls and fills and tons of crashing cymbals all over the place. There really isn’t any conventional ‘metal’ soloing going on but a wide range of sounds and tonalities keep it interesting. It’s really very engaging and outside the box which is the hallmark of innovative, inventive music.
Did I mention that the two members are female? Does it matter? Not in the slightest. Some might find it a point of conversation but when the headphones are on you can’t tell who (male or female) wrote and performed the songs, so ultimately it’s irrelevant. They are musicians first and foremost and damn creative ones too.