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Mara - Djävulstoner Award winner

by "Metal Mark" Garcia at 15 May 2021, 7:31 AM

Swedish Death Metal divided in the 90’s in two distinct formats: the traditional Swedish Death Metal, with DISMEMBER and UNLEASHED on one side (that can be called Stockholm scene), and the bands from Gothenburg, as IN FLAMES, AT THE GATES and DARK TRANQUILLITY, the roots of Melodic Death Metal. And many bands were influenced by both ways. So it’s not hard to understand why MARA (a Swedish quartet from Gothenburg) inherited the Gothenburg Melodic Death Metal way, as can be heard on “Djävulstoner”.

The band shows an evolved form from Melodic Death Metal with influences from Thrash Metal in some points, along with NWOBHM melodies in many moments. But the quartet shows personality in a form of music that’s rich in many musical arrangements and details in many parts, including some clean moments (as can be heard on “Under a Bleeding Moon”), and even epic aspects can be heard. It’s full of energy and has personality, and can become a driving force in a near future. But for now, it’s really great! The sound quality of “Djävulstoner” is really good, because it allows the band to express their songs in a way that can be understood by anyone. But the rough approach of Death Metal can be detected as well. It could be better (the drums could sound a bit heavier in many moments), but for now is really very good.

It’s their first full length, but songs as “Under a Bleeding Moon” (very good guitar work, indeed, with charming guitar riffs and arrangements), “Heaven Shall Burn” (another very good set of melodies) the precious gem that “Unconquered Prince” is (full of excellent guitar leads and charming clean vocals, along clean introspective parts), the perfect blend between melodies and aggressiveness show on the 8 minutes of “Skärseldens Stråkar” (a solid and coherent playing from bass guitar and drums can be heard), the Epic Death Metal approach used on “Born to Die”, the climatic and tender “Blessed Shores”, and the Melodic Thrash/Death Metal songs “Violence is My Heir” show clearly that they can’t be ignored by the fans. But on the aggressive vocals parts, things must be worked in a better way to fit in the music, but it’s a matter of time to things get in their due way (please, Dennis, it doesn’t mean that your voice isn’t good).

MARA is really a good and promising new name, and a listen to “Djävulstoner” will show the fans that the quartet must be followed carefully.

Songwriting: 10
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 8
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

1. The Pinetrees Wail her Name
2. Under a Bleeding Moon
3. Heaven Shall Burn
4. Unconquered Prince
5. Rået
6. Skärseldens Stråkar
7. Born to Die
8. Blessed Shores
9. Djävulstoner
10. Violence is My Heir
11. Märkliga Musa 
Dennis Olsson-Yaouzis - Guitars, Vocals
Anton Holm - Guitars
Tony McWilliams - Bass
Erik Blechingberg - Drums
Record Label: WormHoleDeath


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