Mar de Grises - Draining the Waterheart
Firebox Records
Atmospheric Doom/Post-Rock
8 songs (64'16")
Release year: 2008
Firebox Records
Reviewed by Alex

Long time ago we had a man named Dee, aka as Lizardtail, writing for our team. His utmost expertise was doom metal of various kind. Before Dee disappeared into nowhere, committing virtual and e-mail suicide, he strongly advised me to listen and then review an album by a Chilean melodic doom band Mar de Grises. Listen to The Tatterdemalion Express I did, but it took me forever to compose myself for a review, to a point that when my thoughts were finally gathered I deemed the write-up irrelevant at best. Not to miss it again, and as an opportunity to give a shout-out to Dee, Draining the Waterheart is the second full-length by the sorrow minded Chileans, continuing with the powerhouse Finnish doom label Firebox.

Not trying to duplicate their Latin-twisted take on funeral doom, Mar de Grises create a complex, not for quick consumption, combo of melodic atmospheric doom and post-rock observations with Draining the Waterheart. Even if many of these slow to unfold compositions contain more traditional, dense, plodding riffs, which have come to characterize funeral doom (Kilometros de Nada, Deep-Seeded Hope Avant-garde), these same songs contain wondering off dissonant angular noise sections, even if the Latin flavor is still present (Kilometros de Nada). With proper production help, Mar de Grises often de-structurize their riffs, making them wash over the listener in one smooth wall of sound, rather than in a series of concrete delineated chords. Sleep Just One Dawn manages to lure an unsuspecting observer in, before hitting him/her over the head with the harsh vocal grovel by Juan Escobar and picked up drum pace by Alejandro Arce. One Possessed takes on the bright, utopian, almost Alcest atmosphere, with a few symphonic melodic moments, the voice being much gentler, whispering, guitars gliding off one another in continuous harmony.

The closing two numbers, Summon Me and Liturgia: Convite y Prefiguracion/ Purgatorio/ Dialogo Infierno veer more into the traditional somber tragedy framed melodies and hammering riffs. The closer, however, still plays on this structureless guitar lament and artificial noise bleeps, just as Fantasia is one shimmering post-rock tapestry.

From dreamy to monumental, with keyboards often sounding like ice cold droplets dripping behind the collar, Mar de Grises weave the palette all their own, not the more drama, crushed-feelings laden Draconian or the standard early Anathema/Paradise Lost. Originality be praised, Mar de Grises continue to be an acquired taste, and it did take me a while to get there with Draining the Waterheart, albeit I was coming to it from a different direction compared with The Tatterdemalion Express. This is a good album if you want to mix the shoegaze with solemnity and have time to sort it all out. To help with immersion and to make engagement more permanent, this album is better to be listened to alone, in the dark and by the water.

Killing Songs :
Sleep Just One Dawn, One Possessed
Alex quoted 79 / 100
Other albums by Mar de Grises that we have reviewed:
Mar de Grises - Streams Inwards reviewed by Jaime and quoted 95 / 100
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