Marianas Rest - Aura artwork

Marianas Rest – Auer (Album Review)

Marianas Rest 2023 band photo

Casting off on their journey a decade ago, Marianas Rest are one of Finland’s best kept secrets within the world of Metal. If you are unfamiliar with them, they are a Death Doom Metal act who fits nicely along the likes of Swallow the Sun, Before the Dawn, or Ghost Brigade. 

Slightly different from the aforementioned countrymates, Marianas Rest x-factor is arguably the keyboard work of Omnium Gatherum’s Aapo Koivisto; who adds very delicate textures to each of their songs. He, along with the guitars of Nico Mänttäri and Harri Sunila, which follow a trajectory of say Katatonia during the Discouraged Ones era mood wise, make for something very special. This of course is complete with the otherworldly vocals of Jaakko Mäntymaa, drumming of Nico Heininen and bass playing of more recent member Niko Lindman.

The talents in place, as a band, Marianas Rest first putting out their debut album Horror Vacui in 2016. An exciting start, it showcased an ability to create melodic, melancholy music that engaged more intently in the Melodic Death Metal subgenre. Since then, they have continued to forge a path into dark, atmospheric music that seems to get more expansive with each album. This was evident with 2019’s Ruins, as well as 2021’s Fata Morgana. Now in 2023 they look to take it all to another level with the album Auer.

Their fourth studio album, and second through Napalm Records, Auer was first released on March 24th. An album fitting its name quite well, there is a shroud of mist amidst the near hour expedition of music that dips and dives out of moods. What this means is the atmosphere is so thick that you can cut it with a knife. Furthermore, much of the time you spend listening to this album you feel like you are navigating the inner depths of your own being, your struggles, your fears, and your feeling of displacement in the material world. 

Yes, this sounds a little intense, but it is a good intensity, because the beauty amidst the sorrow that Auer brings is freeing when you reach the end of the road. Think of it as baggage, one that has become a burden very weighing on you… and Marianas Rest helps relieve that within mesmerizing melodies and dream-like states.

Truly a set of music to get lost in, the guitars are flawlessly melodic, while the keys add an ambience that is perfectly enchanting, yet not overbearing. Matching this with some of the tortured bellows of Mäntymaa, and the emotion is only intensified. That said, each of the eight tracks that make up the album offer something unique to one another. Giving you a glimpse into it all, “Disease” dazzles, “Light Reveals Ours Wounds” is Doom Metal perfection in a similar vein as a My Dying Bride, and “White Cradle” carries you deeper into the abyss. 

This is while other songs such as “Fear Travels Fast” keeps the story moving forward in a cinematic fashion, all the way through to “Siren.” Speaking of which, “Siren” has a guest vocal spot from none other than My Dying Bride’s Aaron Stainthorpe… and let us just say it is ear-tingling with intensity that builds until the end. 

Overall, if you fancy yourself a fan of Doom Death Metal that is so rich with textured melodies and untethered, raw emotion… Marianas Rest will be your new favorite band and find yourself returning to Auer. It is true that there is a very niche audience for this type of music, but if outsiders just were open to what it had to offer, they may find the elegance involved in it. However, opening yourself to such emotions is not for everyone, but for those looking to indulge, Cryptic Rock gives this top Doom Death Metal album of 2023 a bold 5 out of 5 stars.

Marianas Rest - Aura album cover
Marianas Rest – Aura / Napalm Records (2023)
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