I have to admit that I’m not very familiar with the metal scene from Chile, but I’ve always admired Mar De Grises for their knowledge to add majestic grandeur and tasteful progressive elements to their music. Their The Tatterdemalion Express and Draining The Waterheart are some of my dearest albums when it comes to doom metal. Earlier this year they released their third record, entitled Stream Inwards. Let’s see whether it can hold its own to its illustrious predecessors.
Stream Inwards pretty much continues the path of the previous two albums. Swirling melodies combined with haunting atmospheres and majestic guitar walls, and everything else the doom/death genre has to offer. What sets Mar De Grises apart is their use of progressive elements, such as sudden time changes, unexpected rhythm changes and psychedelic effects. This is especially manifested in songs like Spectral Ocean, Knotted Delirium, A Sea Of Dead Comets and Aphelion Aura.
This album also shows that the band have grown when it comes to the noble art of song writing. Compared to The Tatterdemalion Express and Draining The Waterheart the compositions on their latest album are more refined. The progressive/experimental parts are better balanced with the traditional doom metal elements. Songs like Starmaker, Shining Human Skin, The Bell And The Solar Gust and Catatonic North are brilliant examples of this.
As was the case with the two previous records Stream Inwards isn’t an easy album to get into. It takes several sessions to get to the essence, but it’s certainly worth it. Mar De Grises are one of those rare bands who dare to push the creative envelope, but manage to retain the core values of doom metal. That’s an impressive feat by any measure.
Stream Inwards by Mar De Grises offers the best of both worlds. It’s experimental enough to ensnare the progressive orientated audience, but it still has enough traditional elements not to alienate its core audience. This is simply one of the best doom metal releases of this year. Period!
written by Raymond Westland