Thursday, May 10, 2012

Mares Of Thrace bring their beatifully noisy racket to Cherry Street on May 17

uncredited - from the Mares of Thrace fb page

Calgary-based Mares Of Thrace are a wicked noise/doom duo that turns it up and kicks it out on a regular basis. What may you say they turn up and kick out? Well, they turn up their amps and then kick out a loud noisy sound that wouldn't be too out of place on the Amphetamine Reptile label in the mid-1990's. Guitarist vocalist Therese Lanz along with co-conspirator, drummer Stefani MacKichan, have been turning heads and blowing speakers since the release of their debut record, "The Moulting" on the Sonic Unyon Metal label in 2010.

Well, it's been two years and they've returned with another corker of a record called "The Pilgrimage", also on the same label, that manages to better its predecessor in many ways, which included recording the album with esteemed metal album/musician Sanford Parker (Minsk, Nachtmystium) in Chicago.

"It's considerably more cohesive. There was a lot of experimentation on the first one, a lot of trying on different hats. This time around we bee-lined for the Viking helmet and got straight down to bludgeoning. As for working with Sanford, he rules. He is fun, has a killer ear for tones, and is remarkably patient when I come in hung over and my fingers don't work as well as usual," said Lanz.

Lanz also used a custom made baritone guitar for the recording of the album, one that greatly helped establish the tones and sounds she wanted. In fact, it worked so well, she had time for other pursuits.

"My custom bari is wired with a guitar and a bass pickup, so it enabled me to be some sort of champion multitasker on the record. It sounds remarkably like plural instruments in one go. I read something about the recording of Zeppelin III, that in some passages they recorded each note of various chords separately for the ultimate in audible perfection. Fuck that, I'm lazy! I wanted to lay down as much fat tone as possible as quickly as possible then go wandering around Chicago in search of Claudio, the elusive tamale vendor," Lanz said.

As for the album itself, several of the song titles contain the word act in them, such as "Act 1: David Glimpses Bathsheba", "Act II: Bathsheba's Reply To David" and "Act III: A Curse Falls On The House Of David". Underneath each of these acts there are several tunes, that you would think contribute to the theme listed beforehand. It would seem that the album is built around a central theme or concept, but Lanz is quick to point out that is not necessarily the case.

"I wouldn't say it has a theme, per se. It's not really a concept album. I'm way too ADD to make a concept album. If I had to pick one underlying theme it would be the essential bleakness and meaninglessness of our goofy parade of idiocy as we shuffle toward oblivion. That's right, I'm getting all existentialist up in this bitch," Lanz said.

By Sarah Kitteringham
Even though, the title of the record fits somehow into Lanz's love of video games, particularly the Mass Effect series of games. To her, it's kind of funny how it worked out. "It was more of a minor but cool coincidence than anything; I had already picked the title when I played Mass Effect and encountered the Quarians, a race who require their young people to leave the shelter of the space flotilla and undertake a pilgrimage.. They need to go out into the universe and find and bring back something of worth before they can rejoin Quarian society as full-fledged adults. Most human societies through history have had some sort of rite of passage for their younguns; contemporary North America doesn't, unless you count surviving prom without dying of alcohol poisoning," Lanz said.

But the bigger question would be, what game could would they score with their music? "Hmm, I don't know... my tastes run high to RPGs, and our music is too bleak and sloppy for RPGs. Maybe a Resident Evil?," said Lanz.

But for Lanz video gaming is not something she does for fun, it is something she wants to turn into a career. She recently got accepted into an accelerated program at the prestigious Tribeca Flashpoint Academy Of Digital Arts And Media in Chicago and will be going for an Associates Of Applied Science Degree In Video Game Development. MacKichan is also going to school, but staying in their hometown of Calgary. She is going for Registered Dietitian certification. They still have plans to keep the band going throughout their schooling and hopefully once it's finished, too. There are plans for a third album, that Lanz says hopes makes "The Pilgrimage", "sound like a fucking Yanni record."

So they won't be mellowing out anytime which is could for the band and good for fans of all things loud and heavy. In fact, as they get older they are getting angrier, which usually flies in the face of what usually happens to people as they age.

"I'm not too sure why musicians' outputs often mellow out as they get older. Me, I keep needing to turn my amp up as my hearing gets progressively more and more damaged. Hell, I made the switch to 200 watts this year. I don't know... I find my rage and contempt at the world is increasing, rather than slowly being supplanted with complacency, as the years pass," said Lanz.

Amen to that.

Thursday May 17, 2012

Mares Of Thrace
Mouth On Tailpipe

Cherry Street Station
491 North Cherry Street Extension
Wallingford, CT

8pm - $10 - 21+

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