For Whom The Bell Tolls: Mare

Not pictured: the sea

So. Bands break up. It sucks, but that’s the way of things. For most of them, the reason is pure and simple; on some level, they suck. Whether it’s only a little, or harder than a $20 hooker, it doesn’t matter; the world doesn’t lose a whole bunch. The members go on with their lives, and probably go on to make a greater impact in other areas of society. Like pumping my gas.

Then there are bands that are forced into submission for other reasons: money, conflict – both personal and artistic – or sometimes the fanbase only comes after they’re long gone.

This is a chronicle of those bands. Most you will not have heard of, for the very reason that they’re not even around to promote themselves any more. But trust me, they are bands that you really really should have heard of.

So we’re half-way through September, and it’s about that time of year when the high-street shops start putting up their decorations, so in that spirit: jingle bells – it’s Mare!

Managing to pull off crushing riffs, crazy avante-garde and tender melody in just one twenty-five minute EP, Mare could have been a force to be reckoned with – if it weren’t for an apparent lack of motivation.

Mare hailed from Toronto, Canada. As the band name might allude to, the doom-laden pace and tone of their music evinces nightmarish qualities. Vocals and guitar were performed by Tyler Semrick-Palmateer, who had previously handled vocal duties for The End on Transfer Trachea Reverberations From Point: False Omniscient. Musical prowess aside, it was the voice of this talented frontman that made them special. One minute screeching like a ghoulish owl, the next segueing into Gregorian chanting or a beautiful and disarming falsetto.

01. Anisette
02. They Sent You
03. Tropics
04. Palaces
05. Sun For Miles

Their one and only EP was first released on Translation Loss Records, but was later picked up by the esteemed Hydrahead and re-released towards the end of 2004. Those guys know their shit, so that should be some indication of how good this band were.

The dischordant guitar intro to Anisette builds up slowly, before dropping into an awesome sludgy riff and some beautifully placed drumming. It’s not often you could call doom ‘pretty’, but if ever you were to, this would be the kind of music you’d hold up as an example. Listening to it feels like wading through a bog littered with lillies and unicorn carcasses; stodgy, metal as fuck, but also a bit floaty and serene.

They Sent You is a pacier beast than the opener, and probably my favourite track from an EP where it’s hard to have one; every song is fresh and brilliant and…argh, just fucking listen, okay?

The follow-up I hoped for was not meant to be though. In February of 2007 Semrick-Palmateer posted on the band’s Myspace page that Mare would not be releasing a new record due to a lack of motivation to write and record more material for the project. No-one’s fault really, but they were destined for greater things; touring with the likes of Converge and Terror. The muse falters though, and we just gotta deal with it.

Tyler’s stint in The End aside, the only other member of note was drummer Caleb Collins, who is now in primo screamo outfit Circle Takes The Square, which must be pretty groovy for him (and for us, I must say).

Although Hydrahead are currently out of stock, I know the EP is available for download from Amazon, which is more than can be said for some of the bands I’ve featured already. The whole EP is on Youtube, and it’s a really good listen, so get out there and pick it up!

– CG

If you have any suggestions for this column, please send them my way to chris(at)heavyblogisheavy(dot)com or leave a message in the comments section!
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