Exploring the haze of shadows with flames of dreamy radiance amidst thick sonic atmospheres, Field Of The Host the debut album from Black Mare is a startling and imposing experience to wrap oneself deeply within. A heady and enthralling blend of shoegaze and consuming ambiences often under an almost noir lit glaze the album is a masterful adventure for the imagination and emotions. It challenges and seduces from start to finish, never allowing a second to be wasted on barren stimulus or pointless frivolity as it soaks the senses in compelling rhythmic repetition and atmospheric embraces which are simple yet undiluted and overwhelmingly engrossing.
Black Mare is the solo project of Los Angeles based Sera Timms, the vocalist and bassist of Ides Of Gemini and until recently also the now demised Black Math Horseman. Her own immersive venture of mesmeric light fuelled yet dense flights found on her first album, do hold essences which relate to the harsher intensity of her other bands but distinctly casts a presence and hypnosis of the senses which is dramatically unique in comparison. The songs upon Field of the Host tease and play with not only their darkest and deepest corners and emotive lures but those of their recipient’s imagination and thoughts. The Human Jigsaw Records released album is a temptress draped in the finest intriguing sonic dress providing a sirenesque voice and presence which haunts and seduces simultaneously, the vocals of Timms alone providing the most invasive, persuasive potency.
Blind One is the first evocative hymn to embrace the senses, its smouldering touch and slowly pervading breath a permeating narrative of guitar sculpting and vocal enticement lined with a rhythmic snare and carnal bass groan. It is a pulsating and resonating mix with a slight essence of Deftones to its emotive chanting and heavy weighted ambience. Leading thoughts deeper into its dramatic charm, the track makes a bewitching and irresistible introduction which the following Tearer only reinforces with its less sombre but equally as compelling and expansive flight. The guitar almost slow waltzes with the passions as Timms serenades with her delicious effect clad tones whilst the bass offers a throat to its tone which reminds of the early bass exploits of The Cure. As the first, the song is the strongest irresistible bait, igniting an appetite and passion which Field of the Host exploits time and time again.
Both Fighting Birds and Saturn’s Grave haunt and charm with individual beauty, the first a radiant breeze of temptation and melodic resplendence gliding gently across the senses as a rhythmic persistence elevates the infection. Its successor is just as irresistible, it a shadow kissed float across haunted emotions and dark embraces washed by elegantly poised harmonies, the beauteous croon of Timms vocally and musically, as the album itself, the sun side of melancholic.
That evocative bass sound which sparked earlier comparisons does so even more potently upon Ashlar, the song a mystical ascent into celestial climes and emotions with tempering dark edges to intrigue and entrance. Once again artist and song lay out a drifting haze of sound and mesmerism which smothers and invigorates with every beguiling second, each touch of the senses bringing tingles in tandem with pleasure.
The album is completed by the dream wrapped Isa, its body a glimpse of peace and danger as if looking through fractures of an emotional mirror, and the reflective Cybele. The final song is arguably the most hypnotic and magnetic track of all, its ingenious entwining of dark and light within a chilling sinew built entrapment a testing and immersing provocation for ears and emotions. It is a wonderful piece of emotively sculpted sonic alchemy, a track unafraid to intimidate and smooch, both aspects coming with equal imaginative relish.
Field of the Host is quite magnificent, not exactly an odyssey for mind and emotions, but a sensationally rewarding and thrilling journey to bask and reflect within.
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