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Album Reviews : Mar de Grises – Streams Inwards

By on August 10, 2010

Overflowing with gorgeous, soaring melodies and creative writing, Streams Inwards, the third album from Chile’s Mar de Grises, is one of the most luscious, consistent and memorable death doom albums to ever grace this earth. It’s a big call, sure, but this album is something truly special.

You only have to listen to “Shining Human Skin” to grasp how absolutely massive this album is; layer upon layer of superb yet relatively simple tunes and atmospheric keys, gigantic but smooth growls and a climax that will make the hairs on the back of your neck stand-up. But it doesn’t stop there, it’s the type of album that just grows and expands as time progresses. “The Bell and the Solar Ghosts” speeds things up whilst adding some proggy nuances into the riffs, before the album changes direction completely with “Spectral Ocean”; an ambient-ish track combining clean guitars and static-like electronic noises. “Sensing the New Orbit” kicks things up a notch, developing into one of the most dramatic tracks on the album, before “Catatonic North” really slows things down with some soft clean vocals and a mellower feel, for the most part. “Knotted Delirium” is as dark and twisted is it sounds, being comprised largely of haunting piano notes and odd little sound effects, and occasionally bursting into a monstrous wall-of-sound combining those elements with their usual melodic doom sound.

If those darker moments and electronic influences take your fancy, make sure to grab the limited edition digipack. The 9 minute bonus track “Aphelion Aura” expands even further on those, with eerie female vocals and barely a minute of metal to be found.

As a whole, the musicianship here is hard to fault. Technicality isn’t a focus but there are moments here and there where the talent of each individual member shines through. Both the growls and clean vocals fit the overall grandeur sound perfectly, and the thick, pristine production really elevates the whole sound. Beware though; there is not a speck of dirt to be found here. If you like a bit of crunch in your metal, this isn’t the place to look.

People often talk about albums that take you on a rollercoaster ride, or something along those lines, and there is rarely a truer case than this. While the album starts on a high note with its hat-trick of stellar melodic death/doom tracks, the way it twists and turns in the latter half will keep you on your toes. And several listens later, there will still be tiny little details that you never noticed before.

Streams Inwards is a must-have album for doom and melodic death fans, and one that is bound to find its way onto more than a couple best of 2010 lists. 10/10

Band: Mar de Grises
Album: Streams Inwards
Year: 2010
Genre: Death Doom Metal
Label: Season of Mist/Riot!
Origin: Chile
http://www.myspace.com/mardegrises2

Tracklisting:
1. Starmaker
2. Shining Human Skin
3. The Bell and the Solar Ghost
4. Spectral Ocean
5. Sensing the New Orbit
6. Catatonic North
7. Knotted Delirium
8. A Sea of Dead Comets
9. Aphelion Aura (bonus track)

About

Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.