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Mara – Djävulstoner

by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 31 May 2021, 8:40 AM

MARA formed in 2012 when Dimitrios and Erik joined forces in a mold infested bunker under the crime-ridden streets of Tynnered. Against the backdrop of the gunshots and burning cars, the perfect scene was set for the apocalyptical sounds that came crashing from inside the bunker. MARA always create as a unit; endless hours of jamming are now utilized in their debut album “Djävulstoner” which is set to be released in the spring of 2021. The goal is to deliver hard hitting riffs, innovative song structures and a “whatever the fuck we want” attitude to modern music. Inspiration is drawn from the state the world and what the astronomical and cosmic currents are telling them.

“The Pinetrees Wail her Name” opens the album. It’s a short, one-minute mood setting instrumental, with clean, acoustic guitars and a melancholy tone. It segues into “Under a Bleeding Moon.” This song opens with a heavy riff and some shouted vocals. It slows close to the half-way mark, with some depressing bass and lead guitar notes. It waxes and wanes a few times, coming to a close with more of those clean guitars. “Heaven Shall Burn” begins with a slow groove. The dual harmonic leads are a staple in the genre. Shouted vocals are probably my least favorite of all vocal styles, unfortunately. It slows again around the half-way mark, with some intricate guitar work.

“Unconquered Prince” opens with another mid-tempo, despondent sound. The vocals are sung at first. It takes another ambient pause close to the half-way mark, and I am sensing a pattern here. The sound returns with fervor, but it’s a fairly thin song overall, though the despondent tones are notes. “Skärseldens Stråkar” is a lengthy, close to nine-minute track. It features a similar sound as the previous track…despondence and sadness, and is sung in the band’s native language. “Blessed Shores” opens with clean guitars and more of that sadness. I suppose it keeps within the theme that the band discussed in their bio, but I find anger more useful than despair. “Violence is my Heir” has a slightly faster pace, and back come the shouts. Anger comes through strongly here.

This album suffers from three things…first, the “mid-tempo blues,” which I often talk about. It’s where many of the tracks have the same pacing. Second, the rhythm section needs thickening up. The sound here is just a bit too thin. Last, many of the song sound very similar. The band has to find a way to set themselves apart from the thousands of others in a genre that is saturated with bands. Other than these things, it’s not a bad album…it just failed to excite me.

Songwriting: 5
Musicianship: 5
Memorability: 3
Production: 7

2 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
Tony McWilliams – Bass
Anton Holm – Guitars
Dennis Olsson-Yaouzi – Guitars, Vocals
Erik Blechingberg – Drums
Record Label: WormHoleDeath


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