Mære – .​.​.and the Universe Keeps Silent (Transcending Obscurity)

Friday, 26th April 2024
Rating: 8.5 / 10

The further we’ve delved into our personal journey with music, the more unsettling an album is, the more it attracts. Creativity, surprise, and downright frightening vibes are all elements that can make an otherwise good album great for these ears. Thankfully, this sort of music hasn’t been in short supply in many differing forms, and the thirst for more will always prevail. Today, we’re speaking about the discordant death metal trio of Mære. Having piqued a few glances with their debut EP I in 2020, they’ve come around to dropping their debut full-length .​.​.and the Universe Keeps Silent upon our hapless selves. If gnarled, twisted death metal is your pleasure, Mære awaits.

Odd time signatures and unpredictable structures are at the core of Mære’s sound, realized by technical guitar work and gristly tonality. Mære doesn’t go straight for the throat. Rather, they toy with the listener, cultivating vast levels of discomforting music that is deft yet relentless. “All Those Things We’ve Never Been (The Grandeur of Nihilism)” sets such a mood with clanking metallic sounds that seem to creep ever closer, before bursting into action with intent-filled black/death metal onslaughts. From here, the song bobs and weaves about while never fully revealing its hand, with snarling growls completing this menacing ensemble. There are moments of speedy brutality throughout (both song and record), but there are far more instances where the band pulls back and tears into a different direction. Not jerky or uncoordinated, mind you, but intentional and provocative. Add in the finish of the song being layered with the infamous J. Robert Oppenheimer quote referencing the Hindu scripture of the Bhagavad Gita, and the ominous tale goes harrowingly forth.

Continuing on is “Traumlande (Ascending The Abyss)” – Mære is definitely not shy of a long song title – building upon itself, slowly adding more instrumentation, and just holding back from a complete explosion of sound that may have dampened the effect that Mære is after. The discretion shown allows the band to explore different avenues outside of bare bones barbarism, adding nuance that this writer appreciates, though those who want something more direct may be waiting for more moments of pure violence that aren’t as numerous.

Entries such as “The Darkness Is Your Mother” offer a plethora of start/stop moments along with a penchant for slower doom inspired pacing, though not without a few smashing spurts that emerge cleverly. Some bits of “Zdrowas Mario (Building The Temple)” lean towards the heavier stuff without leaving atmosphere behind, adding a little meat to the otherwise nimble and ghastly approach. Concluding track “Think of Me as Fire” is heavier still, at times resembling labelmates Replicant in forthrightness, with bulky chugging riffs accompanied by creepy leads that maintain the feel established at the beginning of the record.

Mære is an enigmatic band who embrace subtlety over unhinged forcefulness, resulting in a gloomy and unhinged approach to death metal. Those who value creepy atmospheres and overflowing dissonance absolutely need .​.​.and the Universe Keeps Silent in their lives, as this is death metal akin to heavyweights Nightmarer with slightly less opulence. For those seeking instant gratification, Mære requires a couple of spins to explore their depths, so expect to spend some time with this one. For those who grab a ticket and explore what lies within .​.​.and the Universe Keeps Silent, a mysteriously satisfying time is there be had.

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