Review: Marianas Rest – Fata Morgana

Marianas Rest is no stranger to DutchMetalManiac, as I have reviewed their previous album Ruins about two years ago. Nevertheless I’ll introduce them shortly. Being formed in 2013 this sextet of musicians, hailing from Finland, from Kotka, in the south of Finland to be more precise, is officially, yet arguably listed as a melodic death metal band. However, don’t be fooled by this classification, because the band might surprise you with the healthy dose of melancholy they use to spice up their music. They have recently allowed the world to get acquainted with their latest work, which comes in the form of a full-length, their third, called Fata Morgana and it’s the successor to their previous full-length, the aforementioned Ruins, that dates back to 2019.

The fact that melodic death metal doesn’t cover it, is immediately underlined when the intro to opener Sacrificial atmospherically starts the next journey Marianas Rest sends us on. The rather ominous tones are accompanied by a seemingly unfitting quote from Rust Cohle, the main character of the first season of HBO series True Detective: ‘We are things that labor under the illusion of having a self, that accretion of sensory experience and feelings, programmed with total assurance that we are each somebody, when in fact everybody’s nobody.’ However, it actually quite nicely fits the rather grim vision the band displays in their songs and lyrics, a vision that is perfectly translated into the music. Though death metal certainly has left its marks on Marianas Rest’s music, the doomy vibe is so emphatically present that you cannot ignore it, not even if you wanted to. But honestly, why would you? The combination of doom and death has a lot of appeal and potential, provided the mix is executed skillfully. And that is something you can without a doubt leave in the more than capable hands of these guys.

Whether it’s the oppressively heavy, appropriately named The Weight, the vocally aggressive Advent of Nihilism, the slow, black-ish touch in title track Fata Morgana, or the impressive Pointless Tale, where desolation fights hope to determine which gets the upper hand, it’s all of an equally high quality and standard. The music is composed to envelop the listener, to allow him or her to completely submerge in its atmosphere and fully experience it in all its complicated beauty. The 54-minute treat that is presented to you with Fata Morgana is emotionally draining, but in a good way. Instead of feeling tired and exhausted it leaves you with a feeling of satisfaction, despite its at times burdening force. Verily, not a simple accomplishment.

Marianas Rest has found a way to combine two leviathans in metal music, doom and death, in such an intricate fashion that they blend into an organic, moody whole, resulting in a complete musical picture for all to enjoy. The guitars, the vocals, the keys, the rhythm section, they all shine equally bright while also remaining at service of the whole. The fact the members, without exceptions, are skilled musicians is clearly evident, as they transform the sometimes complex compositions into coherent, smooth songs that allow no room for drifting away and keep offering something new every time you play it. Where Ruins was already a great album that only just missed out on a spot in my year list, with Fata Morgana Marianas Rest takes it to an even higher level, surely making it to this year’s list. They prove they have grown into a more complete band. This is one you cannot afford to miss out on, you have to have listened to it. Period!

Here you can also check our review of Marianas Rest’s earlier album Horror Vacui.

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