There is a reason why – despite decidedly limited studio activity during their nigh-on-20-years of existence – Mare is one of the most celebrated Nidrosian Black Metal forces of all. And it’s clearly evident on ‘Ebony Tower’, the four horsemen’s sole full-length to date, which was unleased four years ago and still resonates as a majestic conjuration of pure, unadulterated evil.
Sonically, this record is the very epitome of evil in every conceivable way. Rarely does it move beyond slow-to-mid-pace but the suffocating, haunting and undeniably-authentic atmosphere of deviance and corruption summoned nonchalantly from the very bowels of hell shines through from start to finish, contemptuously bathing the listener in a pitch-black cloak of sheer darkness. The lyrics are masterful; the presentation of the record delightful; and the music itself distils and channels adversary like perhaps no other album crafted in recent times.
Structurally, everything is in its right place. They are no archetypal Black Metal shrieks; instead we are treated to eerily chanted / sung invocations merged with concisely-premeditated and immaculately-executed musicianship. While the guitars are purposefully repetitive and restrained, they are uncannily effective. Drums roll around like Satan’s thoughts as he crosses the threshold and enters a nunnery; the devilish bass lines are way beyond what you’d hear on an a standard Black Metal record. This is anything but.
Each of the five curses on this record is a classic and ‘Ebony Tower’ is undoubtedly an album that needs to be listened to over and over again. Indeed, when you have this one in your collection, it can be difficult to justify throwing on anything else. Ever. As a pathetic horde of useless pretenders clamours and postures for commercial success and unwarranted acclaim, ‘Ebony Tower’ stands as a stern lesson to an increasingly diluted, derivative, fake, fraudulent and farcical scene / circus, boldly showcasing everything Black Metal can and should be.