MARIANAS REST, this is the name bubbling up in every corner of the scene at a reasonable time, “the novelty of the moment”, and although I am not an easy connoisseur, the Finns of the beautiful Kotka now under the Austrian label Napalm Records finally came into my sights for review. These skilled musicians are the new sensation of melodic death metal even if we walk in a wide field of brilliant releases for the genre, the amount of the new names for this enthusiast who speaks to you now still seems overwhelming if we compare the numbers, but although “Horror Vacui” and “Ruins” have not reached my attention so much before, these guys seem to have gained a boost now, even if by osmosis, for the third album “FATA MORGANA”.
Serving listeners with a good dose of death covered in doom with all the philosophical melancholy of the cold layers and deep feelings so loved by fans of bands like My Dying Bride “FATA MORGANA” enters the list of releases of this turbulent year with the robustness of who finally found the right path, even if far from the acceleration we wanted, far from it, MARIANAS REST‘s third full-length rebounds the experimentalism of previous albums in eight dark, complex and singular tracks, but at the same time challenging beautiful and enigmatic atmospheres that together merge into something far beyond the simple melodic death metal of the shelf.
Dealing with the sweetness of spoken passages to the floating guitars of the introduction of “Sacrificial“, “FATA MORGANA” immerses itself in the abyssal sound where the blunt voice of Jaakko Mäntymaa reigns, in changes of times of suffering and anger that are accompanied by sudden elevations over all instrumentation. The changing weather, the unexpected screaming guitars coupled with the profound work of Nico Heininen‘s drums take the listener to a delightful surprise from a solid and intoxicating track, a fair and engaging start to listening.
“Glow From the Edge“, in turn, falls due to a colder entrance of rough guitars that travel by almost recited lyrics before the sharp vocal elevations, there is a very dignified work in this mixture of death/doom by MARIANAS REST and more than as much lyrics as all the melodies carry an almost distressing weight there is a feeling of hope that seems to be transmitted by the band, a kind of delicate and meticulous self-reflection that delights the listener and provides a expectation for what is next.
Dedicating a little more attention to the evolution of these musicians we realize that MARIANAS REST is maturing sonorously, even though the previous albums have been acclaimed by the press I always felt a little imbalance about the introduction of own experiences within the compositions of this band, but now past eight years from the beginning we can see that any change has been beneficial, just surrender to the weight of “Pointless Tale” and the superb bass of Niko Lindman or the solitude of “The Weight“, or even the convergence of the Finnish root embedded in “Horrokseen“, “FATA MORGANA” proves to be an elegant and well-developed album.
We approached the end of the album on the title track “Fata Morgana” and its sad spirituality shrouded in aggressiveness that only owes a little clarity and voices to the front of the game, but that is one of the most symbolic moments of this piece, before “Advent of Nihilism” and “South of Vostok” end the game until the next round of renewal for MARIANAS REST.
I cannot say yet that I am totally convinced about what boundaries this band will still pioneer but I can finally say that MARIANAS REST captivated me, FATA MORGANA is a complete production and full of a “web” very well arranged on the musical magnitude, much more in the doom lines than we could imagine before, but much more deeply in a more complex genre that we have seen before but that only a few bands dare to work with such accuracy and depth today. Of course, I still miss a little bit of clarity in the instrumental in some points and for sure I would really like to find a little more than eight tracks but this is a mandatory album for any connoisseur of the genre in 2021, MARIANAS REST was meticulous in composition that takes much of the Finnish presence, the production sounds really fair and although some moments seem simplistic this is a very detailed musical piece dealing with the beauty of solitude and isolation in a brilliant way. It is completed with the cover art of the Norwegian Kjetil Karlsen.
Label link: https://napalmrecords.com/
Jaakko Mäntymaa – vocals
Aapo Koivisto – keyboards
Nico Mänttäri – guitar
Harri Sunila – guitar
Niko Lindman – bass
Nico Heininen – drums
Recorded and mixed by Teemu Aalto – Teemu Aalto Music Productions, Finland
Productions and mastered by Svante Forsbäck at Chartmakers
Released by Napalm Records