Mara – RÖK (Review)

Mara - RÖKMara is a Swedish one man black metal band and this is his third album.

Sometimes you just need a hit of the black stuff, and RÖK offers 36 minutes of the darkness you need. Spread across 5 tracks, this is cold black metal played as if it was still the 90s. Think second wave Scandinavian black metal, with enough atmosphere and melody to provide depth, and enough teeth to hurt when it bites.

The bulk of the material here is cold and frozen, with scathingly frosted blasts and rolling blackened groove. The band know enough to vary their output, however, never sticking too long in one mode, and include plenty of slower and more mood-driven sections. There’s a slight pagan/folk influence here too that allows occasional forays into lighter and/or more reflective territories, although this is certainly not the norm for the music.

There are some good melodies on this album; some understated, some more blatant. Many of the leads are quite evocative, and some of the solos really hit the spot quite nicely. These leads and solos are some of the highlights of the album in fact, when added to by the sharp, aggressive, blackened rhythm guitars, and the overall equally sharp songwriting. Taken together, you have quite an attractive package.

RÖK is a solid album that does exactly what you would want it to do, and provides an enjoyable trip into old-school black metal territories at a length that just begs you to play it again.

Fans of Darkthrone, Gorgoroth, and Mayhem should check this out.

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