Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Mar de Grises: Streams Inwards (2010)


Mar de Grises is a melodic death/doom band from Chile. Their sophomore album was a bit of a sleeper hit two years ago, garnering a lot of positive reviews. Does Streams Inwards continue to impress?

Mar de Grises sounds like you would expect Barren Earth to sound, i.e., like a combination of Amorphis and Swallow the Sun. Even the vocals sound like a combination of Mikko Kotamäki (the growls) and Tomi Joutsen (the clean vocals). There are differences though, as the Chileans use a smattering of electronics, and the guitar tone in the softer sections has a distinctly aquatic quality.

Some of the songs tend to run together, but the atmosphere is incredible. It evokes images of standing on an endless beach, after sundown, and seeing no one else for miles in any direction. It's lonely as hell, and angry, but there's nobody to be angry at--so you just have to scream at the sky. And maybe just walk into the ocean and get sucked out with the riptide.

Highlights include opener "Starmaker" and the superbly interesting "Knotted Delirium". The latter makes clever use of piano, dissonance, and some NIN-esque electronic effects.

The Verdict: Not quite as impressive as their last album, but still very good, Streams Inwards is worthwhile for fans of the Finnish bands mentioned above. I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

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