Review: Marianas Rest – Ruins

Marianas Rest is a melodic doom/death metal band hailing from Kotka, Finland. Having been around since 2013 the sextet hasn’t been overly productive with only a demo and their first full-length, Horror Vacui, filling their discography. In 2019 however, three years after the release of their debut full-length, the band is ready to release their second full-length entitled Ruins which will be released on the 26th of April. Since its birth the band underwent just one line-up change when bassist Harri Vainio was replaced with Niko Lindman in 2017. Apart from Niko the current members are Harri Sunila and Nico Mänttäri on guitar, Jaakko Mäntymaa as vocalist, Nico Heininen on drums and Aapo Koivisto on keyboards.

Here and there referred to as the ambassadors of melancholy Marianas Rest eagerly tries to validate that statement with a rather ominous, moody intro of the first song that kicks of their new album. Opener Kairos begins with a spoken fragment of Lord Byron’s poem Darkness (courtesy of Niilo Sevänen) that is taken over by an emotional, sad cello tune (courtesy of Timo Virkkala) which in turn transform into the actual song. As to be expected from a band that states in its bio that its music has been forged in crushing pressure of the deep, the song is predominantly heavy, slow and cumbersome, an impression that is augmented by the tortured screams of the vocalist, that perfectly match to the not-so-uplifting lyrics (Cut me up with your rusty knife, I will not make a sound) and the at times triumphant sounding, yet nevertheless burdening guitar parts. In short: A textbook melodic doom metal song.

And doom is definitely what Ruins brings you and not only music-wise. The lyrical concept is about a mind that slowly crumbles and all the ugly consequences that brings. Not exactly an optimistic point of view, but certainly fitting the genre. However, there’s more to Marianas Rest’s music then just doom metal, because every so often the speed goes up, distinctly moving their music towards death metal, while particularly the vocals more than once bear resemblance to the vocals that are used within the black metal genre. However, doom metal remains the main course, the guys from Marianas Rest never stray far from their doomy path of despair, delivering over 50 minutes of sadness and sorrow.

It’s not all doom and gloom though, when you really want to there’s a shimmer of hope to be heard on Ruins, which comes in the form of a subtle, scarce bright riff, a less harsh vocal line or a short acoustic intermezzo. This does not only contributes to the overall quality of this release, it also makes it much more digestible than an album filled with nothing but oppression and darkness. By adding this and quite some melodic parts the guys have managed to find the much needed variety to avoid the boredom doom metal can be notoriously susceptible to. And there’s more. The recurring fragments of Lord Byron’s works are an asset in my opinion, as is the subtle use of the cello. Let Restitution blast from your speakers and you’ll know what I mean, to me the beautifully executed cello tune that opens the song really makes it stand out.

Marianas Rest has produced an album that is certainly worth your attention, especially when melodic doom metal floats your boat. However, due to the variety and added ‘bonuses’ like the use of the cello, I’m sure it will please many other metal fans as well. If you’re looking for a cure for your depression it’s probably best to avoid this album, but other than that I can only recommend it and don’t stop after the first turn, there’s lots to discover. In fact, I liked it better every time I put it back on.

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

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