Saturday, September 22, 2012

Review: Mara - The Reawakening

Mara are one of those truly underground black metal bands that a lot of people haven't heard of yet, a one man project formed in an undisclosed year by a man who calls himself Vindsval. The first demo for Mara, limited to fourteen copies worldwide, was released in 2010 and entitled Dark Powers. Now, a couple of years later Mara returns with another limited release, twenty-eight copies this time, in the form of an EP done with "...more influence of old black metal from the first two waves." What dark evils and pagan rituals does The Reawakening have inside? Special thanks to Mara for providing a physical copy of The Reawakening for review!

Genre: Black Metal
Label: Self-released/independent
Release Date: September 10th, 2012
  1. The Reawakening
  2. Winter Hunger
  3. Black Sorcery
  4. Oblivion
  5. Metamorphosis
  6. Fylgia
Total Playtime: 20 minutes, 41 seconds






Rating: 8.0/10




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Mara are one of those truly underground black metal bands that a lot of people haven't heard of yet, a one man project formed in an undisclosed year in Sweden by a man who calls himself Vindsval. The first demo for Mara, limited to fourteen copies worldwide, was released in 2010 and entitled Dark Powers. Now, a couple of years later Mara returns with another limited release, twenty-eight copies this time, in the form of an EP done with "...more influence of old black metal from the first two waves." What dark evils and pagan rituals does The Reawakening have inside? Special thanks to Mara for providing a physical copy of The Reawakening for review!

Upon starting the album the listener is greeted with guitar picking done in a soft, clean tone. Whooshing wind can be heard in the background, along with the faint screeching of a bird now and then. As the title track, "The Reawakening", comes to an end, the bass drum begins kicking lightly in the pattern of a heartbeat. This works well in setting a cold, desolate, winter obsessed atmosphere for the rest of the record. It's also a great throwback to some of the best pagan inspired black metal introductions of old, such as "Frost" from the infamous Enslaved album of the same name.


Vindsval has done an incredible job in capturing the spirit of old black metal in The Reawakening. The guitar has that borderline overly distorted tone to it like much old black metal does, but given the high production value of the album none of the chords or tremolo picking get lost and are instead heard with gratifying clarity. "Black Sorcery" is one of the most haunting tracks of the content and makes use of a simplistic yet very memorable song structure that involves both fast tempo strumming and slow, crushing riffs. The vocals and drums have a slight echo around them that keep this album in the traditional spirit, and this trait works exceptionally well with this song. The drums hold a steady pounding beat in the background and incorporate a variety of ritualistic patterns, especially in the eerie main verse:

"There will not longer be any paradise for me, you will see. You will see!"

"Winter Hunger" and "Fylgia" are also two more tracks well worth mentioning, though the album as a whole is worth listening to over and over again. "Fylgia" is a strong instrumental track that ends the album on a calmer note, full of the sounds of nature and a gentle, clean guitar strum backed by double bass drumming. The only problems that lie within The Reawakening are that the content is a bit too short and leaves the listener hungering for more, and the performance can also come off a little untidy at times. This is due to some off beat guitar segments, such as in "Black Sorcery", but it doesn't hinder the enjoyability of the album. The Reawakening is a brilliant ode to pagan inspired black metal of old with a unique style of its own created by Vindsval. Don't let this one slip under your radar, go visit the official Mara Facebook page for information on getting your hands on one of the twenty-eight copies of this EP!

Physical Copy Provided by: Mara

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