Mara are a Swedish black metal band and this is their fourth album.
Following on from 2019’s enjoyable RÖK, Loka Mær delivers a scant 26 minutes, but what it lacks in quantity it makes up for in quality.
As I said in my review of the band’s previous album, sometimes you just need a hit of the black stuff. Mara play their black metal true to the Scandinavian second wave; apart from a superfluous intro, the songs on Loka Mær exemplify this approach well. Generally shorter and more condensed than the songs on RÖK, these new tracks are vicious and hateful. They benefit from their shorter running times by going for the throat with renewed focus and precision.
All of the songs are dark and furious, delivering cold, icy atmosphere with frosted aggression and grim mid-paced determination. Bleak blackened melodies are used well to drive home the sharp jagged sound, and despite how full of fury it can be, the music doesn’t lack in atmosphere or mood. Combine all of this with the short length, and Loka Mær is very moreish and easy to play over and over again.
Yes, sometimes you just need to go back to the classic style, and Mara play their black metal well. Highly recommended for fans of the second wave.