Sunday 10 June 2018


GenresPunk / Hardcore / Post-Hardcore / Metal / Post-Metal / Black Metal / Doom / Sludge
Related artistsEight Bells, Immortal Bird, ThrawsunblatiOLE!and Woods Of Ypres.
CountryCalgary, Alberta CANADA
Years Active2009-present
Song: "The Gallwasp"
Album: "The Pilgrimage"
Year: 2012
For fans ofConverge, Tentacles, Coarse, Old Man Gloom, Made Out Of Babies, Incassum, Devil Sold His Soul, Jesuit, Isis, Beneath The Ashes, Amber, Hexis, Celeste and I Hate Sally.
Label(s): Sonic Unyon / Arctodus Records
This post's artist is from the May 2018 Mix. This is track #14.
You can download: the June 2018 Mix#6 right here or get the new July 2018 Mix#7 here.

Hailing from Alberta, Canada, MARES OF THRACE are an insanely talented two-piece led by two very awesome women. The band started in 2009 and they released two LPs in their first three years, a demo track in 2014 and news of new recordings for 2018 (hopefully).

They sound like...hmmmm, who do they sound like? Maybe the reason I find myself at a loss for decent band comparisons is because I don't listen to death metal. At all. MARES OF THRACE certainly isn't death metal, but they aren't far from it, incorporating various elements of metal, including black metal, post-metal and metallic hardcore. What the band is is heavy. Really, fucking, heavy. Besides being very heavy, other adjectives that strike me as extremely fitting are venomous, ferocious, vicious and rabid. Yeah, think of a rabid dog's snarling mouth and this is the musical equivalent of that.

If you really needed some band comparisons, I'd probably hold up Converge in one hand and say "not as fast as Converge" and Made Of Babies in the other and note "heavier than Made Of Babies". Then I'd start raising and lowering each hand with a look of mild confusion of my face. It's crushing, it's driving and the two-piece is able to lay down some grooves and post-something moments.

The first release by MARES OF THRACE was the 10-track cdLP titled 'The Moulting'. If I had heard this before their latter LP I'd have likely loved it more, but the album is quite obviously the stepping stone to the more honed and potent sound found on 'The Pilgrimage'. Everything you'd pretty much expect is here, it's all just done a little more basic and leaves me intrigued but not ecstatic. The record opens with a noise track before unleashing the most progressive and engaging song titled "Mandible", which is a straight up banger and is the most like the record's subsequent kin. The looming guitar (tracked more than once, obviously), driving drum rhythms and darkened, devilish and deadening screams/growls with the occasional soft lullaby croon thrown in for good measure. They also released a proper music video for track four's "General Sherman" (linked here), which lays heavy on the chugs and boasts a slower, sludgier feel with the heaviest vocal takes on the record. Other notable tracks include the jarring "Rawcake (and bloody fingers)", the very screamy "Perseid", the wicked instrumental romp that is "Venison" and the clean, somber "The Arch".

It was 'The Pilgrimage' that was my first experience with MARES OF THRACE and upon revisiting the 2012 record I am still adamant that this is a stellar and unfortunately overlooked release.
Right from the opener "Act I: David Glimpses Bathsheba" you will notice the increase in doomy, dark atmosphere as well as a killer, pulverizing and powerful sound present throughout the recording. This song is perhaps the most evil sounding, as it is all based around a prodigiously hellish guitar progression with tons of dirty palm-muting and piercing screams/growls. "The Pragmatist" is next and continues with the devastating destruction unleashed on the previous track, which includes a sick bit starting at 52 seconds and turns apocalyptic at 1:30. "The Gallwasp" is next and hot damn that's one fine track. Opening with a subtle and deep guitar riff, it plods along until 1:04 when the ambling shadow reveals itself as a towering behemoth. At 1:37 the stop/starts begin and are slathered in seething shrieks, with a build to 2:08 when it pops, making it my personal MARES OF THRACE favourite. "The Perpetrator" was given the honour of a music video (linked here) and sounds like the sequel to "General Sherman", making that four insanely good tracks to open the album. The mostly-instrumental juggernaut "Act II: Bathsheba's Reply to David" is next and sounds like like my friends in Teleportoise., "Triple B" is a short noise track, "The Goat Thief" is dark, brooding and primal with hints of AmenRa. "Act III: A Curse Falls On The House Of David" is just 1:06 but it blazes a quick trail of fire and death while "The Three-Legged Courtesan..." is nearly six minutes of a guitar-only climb that never reaches the summit. Closer "...And the Bird Sturgeon" is the longest track at 8:09 and it is a massive ride the entire way through, sound a lot like their Ontario predecessors I Hate Sally.

Whilst perusing their facebook page a few days back in preparation for this review, I saw that they had plans to record an EP in 2017/2018 but have ditched those in favour of an LP, likely recorded in 2018 so a release of 2019 seems likely unless further backlog ensues. In 2014 they released a demo from the upcoming album, but at four years later now who knows if it'll sound similar or even be on the record. Regardless, "Dead French Mathematicians" is a straight-up banger that is as immense as it is piercing, and leaves me clamoring to hear this full length.



2010 - The Moulting cdLP (stream/donate/download here)

2012 - The Pilgrimage cd/12"LP (stream/donate/download here)

2014 - Dead French Mathematicians digital demo (stream/donate/download here)


(2014) MARES OF THRACE - "Dead French Mathmeticians" (from 'Dead French Mathematicians')

(2012) MARES OF THRACE - "The Perpetrator" (from 'The Pilgrimage') official music video

(2012) MARES OF THRACE - "Act I: David Glimpses Bathsheba" (from 'The Pilgrimage') live video

(2010) MARES OF THRACE - "Mandible" (from 'The Moulting')

(2010) MARES OF THRACE - "General Sherman" (from 'The Moulting') official music video


MARES OF THRACE additional links

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