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Mares Of Thrace – The Exile Award winner

Mares Of Thrace
The Exile
by Justin "Witty City" Wittenmeier at 12 April 2022, 6:53 AM

Canada’s MARES OF THRACE’s Facebook page says they are a doom duo with noise and hardcore inclinations.  I say that hits the nail on the head with the biggest hammer of doom you can find.  The band formed in 2009 and “The Exile” is their third full length album.  I had not heard of them before receiving this promo but they are on my radar forever and I’m kicking myself for not knowing them sooner.

Apparently they went on a ten year hiatus—after hearing this devastating, angry, rip roaring infused of an album, I hope they never go away again. The band’s sound can go from a slow groove to an audio onslaught of nasty instrumentation and inhuman then back again to something that combines both and is everything they have been describe as yet neither but also more.  At the very least, they are never less and their overall doom/sludge filled sound contains a wide variety of sounds. I just love abrasive sludge/doom like this.  Much like BODY VOID, ISCHEMIC, THOU, CHAINED TO THE BOTTOM OF THE OCEAN, and PRIMITIVE MAN, this special style of extreme is so focused yet adventurous that it can only be esoteric yet it is music that if you love it, you really fucking love it.

As one could probably imagine, this record is full of boundless energy and infinite replay potential—it’s just so damn slick, especially the guitars.  You like riffs?  This is 35 minutes of a guitar beating you across the face.  Much can, and should be, said about Thérèse vocals which are drenched in blood and twice as evil as that guitar smashing I talked about earlier.  But she isn’t a slouch either, providing her fair share of guitar murder with her own baritone guitar.  I’m not exactly sure what a baritone guitar is, something is both yet neither, but by god it sounds amazing here.

Onward, Ever Onward,” immediately throws out gargantuan riffs—and the powerful bass and drum rhythm section to back it all up. The vocals are so extreme that my throat hurts just hearing Thérèse belting out these lyrics.  The band isn’t afraid to speed up their doom/sludge into more groovy and energetic tempos, as evident by the ending of the song. “Dark Harbours,” proves that clean tones don’t have to take away anything interesting from such an otherwise caustic band—and the first two minutes of the song builds it up with just enough momentum to keep interest but not enough that the climax is reached too early.  The riffs aren't quite as thick here as the previous track but the flow is optimal and they are more intricate. As the song moves forward, so does the sense of urgency and the impact is undeniable.

The duo does have a laid back side, as the clean vocals in “Offerings Of Hand And Tongue” show with deadly intrigue.  Because of the cleans, the screams are all the more effective—Thérèse is a vocalist who knows who she is and what she is capable of. The instrumentation switches back and forth between muddy waters but the cleaner aspects, including the vocals, still find their place among the more abrasive measures.  The last minute of the sons plays off from this, going brutal to a degree that about wrecked my ears.

Mortal Quarry,” has a punk/hardcore feel to it at times, an injection of other genres and ideas that work wonders for the band’s sound yet they still never lose site of their abrasive ambitions.  This song feels like it is constantly rise towards action that just reaches new heights as each moment is passed.  It is a little never wrecking but a song that can cause fits of trepidation is indeed powerful stuff. “In All Her Glory,” takes that hardcore energy and just injects steroids into the beast’s muscles; this song is as dangerous as a group of people playing rushing roulette in the dark.  The riffs grow in their steely resolve as the song continues to just pump itself up. By the time it ends, this beast has grown into a full fledged leviathan in just four minutes.

The final song is “The Thread That Will Unravel You,” and being ripped apart, rebuilt, and destroyed again has never sounded so good.  Some of the most impressive guitar is featured here and Thérèse gives her best performance.  The last two minutes of the song demand attention and won’t leave your head, even after the neck heals from the headbanging. MARES OF THRACE’sThe Exile”  is a short but impressive listen that stays with you long after you’ve hit the replay button three times already.  Noisy, insane, barbarous yet instantly tuneful and indelible, “The Exile” is one hell of a doom/sludge/whatever album doesn’t let anyone stand in its way.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Onward, Ever Onward
2. Dark Harbours
3. Offerings Of hand And Tongue
4. Mortal Quarry
5. In All Her Glory
6. The Thread That Will Unravel You
Thérèse Lanz - Vocals, baritone guitar
Casey Rogers - Drums, bass guitar
Record Label: Sonic Unyon Records


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