• Mar de Grises - Streams Inwards (2010) - Sophisticated - 77% (05/01/13)

    Mar de Grises - Streams Inwards (2010)

     

    This record of the Chilean progressive doom metal band "Mar de Grises" is quite challenging and everything but easy to digest. It kicks straight off with melancholic or even depressive melodies that develop a very dark atmosphere in the uneasy and somewhat completely inappropriated opener "Starmaker" that immediately hits you like a comet. Heavy doom metal riffs and controlled death metal vocals meet more progressive passages with cold electronic or robotic sounds and whsipered or spoken word passages. In some tracks, one can also listen to clean vocals reminding me of those in the German gothic metal band Crematory or choirs that give the album a more epic and cinematic touch as in "A Sea of Dead Comets" that reminds me of stuff like In Flames' "The Chosen Pessimist" concerning the negative atmosphere and the sluggish development. In general, the album gets a little bit softer and more progressive towards the end while the beginning is quite misanthropic and raw at some points.

    The band is surely sophisticated and this record needs many spins before you might get a connection to it. The song writing is unpredictable and appears sometimes even directionless or boring. The record contains no hooks, gripping choruses or truly outstanding melodies that will stay on your mind for a while. As a highlight, I would probably cite the epic and diversified "Knotted Delirium" that could also please to fans of bands like Opeth as it mixes slow and sometimes even calm progressive doom metal passages with heavier parts by creating a whirlwind of emotions. For those who like heavier stuff, the surprisingly vivid "The Bell and the Solar Gust" is probably the most memorable song on the album and develops a drowning but at the same time almost dynamical sound.

    Another outstanding track is without a doubt the bonus song "Aphelion Aura" which is also the longest song on the album. The track is even more minimalistic and probably the weirdest piece on here. Instead of the usual vocalist, it features a few clean and grounded female vocals that are underlayed by spacey lounge sounds and maybe something like modern jazz elements. The song is completely electronic and features no guitar or bass sounds at all. The song rather reminds me of some more introspective stuff by Adele but is three times longer than those songs wthout any logical reason. As you might guess, this band doesn't care about being popular in the metal scene or having an own style and don't stop their strange experiments.

    In the end, it's very hard to get a connection to this band. Apart of those who are really open-minded and like to experiment new sounds and styles and fans of progressive doom metal, I can't imagine that many people might like this. While I recognize the band's courageous approaches and must admit that they have a couple of good ideas and a big talent when it comes to develop a melancholic atmosphere which is the leitfaden of this release, I can't really say that I would listen to this kind of music very often. It's music for special hours and quite hard to digest. In the end, it's tough to chose a rating for this band but as the record certainly has its moments, my final verdict remains quite positive.

     

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