Marianas Rest – Ruins

Rating: 3.5/5
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Released: 2019
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Band Line-up:

Nico Mänttäri – Guitar
Harri Sunila – Guitar
Niko Lindman – Bass
Jaakko Mäntymaa – Vocals
Aapo Koivisto – Keyboards
Nico Heininen – Drums


1. Kairos
2. The Spiral
3. Hole in Nothing
4. The Defiant
5. Unsinkable
6. Shadows
8. Omega


Marianas Rest are a melancholic death metal band from the Finnish coastal town of Kotka. They were formed in 2013 and will be releasing their second full length album ‘Ruins’ on 26th April, through Inverse Records. The name ‘Ruins’ is an analogy for a broken mind. The album starts at breaking point and develops towards an inevitable end. It is emotional, yet simultaneously heavy. Despite its darkness, the music is intended to make you vent off steam and forget about the depressiveness of the world.

For death metal, this stuff is surprisingly easy on the ears. If the harmony wasn’t performed by the bass and distorted guitars, but maybe keys or strings instead, a lot of it would almost be uplifting. Not so much in a happy way, but a positive, calming way as so much of the writing flows so naturally. This suggests the musicians really know their voice leading theory. Many of the chord progressions are really crushing, powerful and doomy though, creating a balance that could have easily gone wrong, but admirably didn’t. These guys are not writing ideas at random, far from it. The album develops as logically as a symphony would, with its ups and downs of all sorts. It would be pretentious to say it’s as complicated as Beethoven’s work in terms of chords and such, but the taste and effort that went into the music is impressive.

The melodies (mostly played on the guitars) may interact very well with the backing, but they tend to be somewhat predictable, rhythmically straightforward and safe. Having said that, the stylish synth solo on Unsinkable is very melodic and not what death metal fans will expect. It wouldn’t be at all out of place in a chillout album. The whole package is highly entertaining and the production is very well done, partially distracting one of the occasional flaws. It is thick and powerful, but not so computerised that it becomes lacking in soul. As intended, the music portrays human melancholy and desperation very well. However, the ending isn’t quite as climactic and crazed as you may be hoping, but you do get a bit of an epic, tasteful guitar solo.

In conclusion, the album is a little hit and miss. Often what is heard is very interesting, other times the listener may want things to hurry up a little. There’s nothing wrong with tension and release or highlights and buildups, but obviously mild monotony is never desirable. However, if you enjoy music that is just a tiny bit minimal in areas, you probably won’t have any issues with Marianes Rest. If you like your death metal ultra brutal and based on blitzing riff after blitzing riff, you may not like Ruins too much, but if you want things to be more epic and groundbreaking, it could be right up your street!

Review by Simon Wiedemann
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