Written by Barlovv
Mar – Everything is Alive
>Rhode Island, US
>Released October 14th, 2022
Queer Anarchist Doom Metal is, hopefully, what will be playing at my funeral. Sometimes a collection of words creates that little tingle in your brain that goes “yes, this is what we have been looking for”, and wouldn’t you know it, Mar absolutely fucking rules. I want to say, just right off the bat, that it feels so fucking good to write the word “anarchist” next to a band again. There is so much fucking “apolitical” and “just make music” discourse in the genre (looking at you, metal Twitter), and to have a band say “not only is that fucking bullshit, here’s exactly where we stand” is a balm on my fucking soul. How did we get to a place where the only people seemingly open to taking a political position on a regular basis are the fucking Nazis?
Written, as the band says, over the course of three years worth of ecological disaster and psychological crisis (thank god all that is over right?), Kay Belardinelli and Eiríkr Åsheim have put together what might be the shortest and also most crushing piece of doom that I’ve heard.
Running at only 21 minutes across 10 tracks, this does feel incredibly brief among a genre full of 25-minute songs, but Everything is Alive doesn’t ever feel like it lacks the sense of dread and doom that comes along with, well, doom metal. If anything it creates a real sense of urgency that falls in line with the themes present in the album. In particular, on the idea of ecological collapse, which seems to be barreling at us at full speed with no sense of it slowing down: time is a limited resource, and it’s important that we say what needs saying right now. Also, being an anarchist band, I can only assume they recorded this in the home of a billionaire who could have come home at any second, and they still needed time to eat him and burn down the house. At least that’s what I would do. Allegedly and as clear and obviously-pointed-out satire.
What is further interesting about this shorter record is that the songs remain that excellent droning sludge marks doom metal; each track is short and brutal, but also very slow. Our rapidly running out time contrasted with the decision making of those in positions to possibly do something about climate change and collapse. Of course, I could also just be thinking too much about it – or not enough about it. So.
Musically there is a lot to love here, absolutely crushing instrumentals and a wild and frantic vocal performance that has a similar rawness and honesty that I appreciated back when I reviewed the 2022 Foxtails album, Fawn. Accompanying the anguished screaming are some very haunting and beautiful clean vocals as well. Honestly, this thing is firing on all cylinders.
As we face down impending apocalypse, plagues, recession, and just about every other goddamn fucking thing, it’s so nice to have someone on your team who is just a fucking furious as you are and who expresses that in a way that is shockingly beautiful as well as ferocious.
THE BOTTOM LINE
Mar has a real fucking banger here: it’s brutal and honest and vulnerable, and it really does work on a number of different levels as a piece of cathartic art for both artist and audience. If it’s not currently on your radar, it fucking should be.