Marianas Rest – Fata Morgana (Napalm)

Tuesday, 9th March 2021
Rating: 8.5/10

An underdog favorite with their two previous albums, the word of Marianas Rest continues to grow and spread favor for the gloomy death/doom act. Now signed to Napalm Records for their third release, it’s make it or break it time for the band, but no need to fret. Those seeking melancholic and dreamy wonder are bound to find it here in spades.

Fata Morgana is nothing if not the continuation and maturation of what has worked best for the band in the past. Oozing with sorrow and glum atmosphere, if anything this third output sees them going further into bleak territory, offering a touch less heaviness and replacing it with extra sadness. But it’s not meant to be an entirely depressive affair after all, and there’s a lot of ‘beauty in sorrow’ that works in the band’s favor in each of the tracks. Lead-off cut “Sacrificial” makes quick use of this notion, with swirling melodies encompassing the listener in the chorus in such a way that it feels somewhat heartwarming, even if it does drag the heart through the mud to do it. At mostly 7-ish minutes a track, it’s a very slight uptick from their previous material but they take advantage of it in order to tap into the atmosphere and feeling of the tracks. There’s a bitter cold sensation that sweeps through many of the songs, but the time allows for moments of ethereal melodies to break through, with “Glow from the Edge” and “The Weight” offering some of the finest feelings of resonance and beauty on the album. One final aspect worth noting is that of vocalist Jaakko Mäntymaa, who growls and screams with some impressive emotion. His tortured vocals add to the misery of a song like the title track – really pushing things into agonizing realms.

The most accomplished effort by Marianas Rest to date, Fata Morgana should hopefully point some more sad and solemn eyes towards the band. A somber release that hits all of the emotive ways that melodic death/doom can, with a strong grasp on the atmosphere to make it darkly stunning.

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