Mire Lore - Marrow Leech
If you're a fan of modern day deathcore, then you no doubt know the name Dan Watson; and if you don't then you definitely at least know of some of the projects he's worked with including vocals for Infant Annihilator and Enterprise Earth. If you haven't been paying attention for the last year or so, then you may or may not know that Watson has teamed up with Frank Cilella (former guitarist of Bodysnatcher) to bring you some of the genre's most hard-hitting, prime examples of how to make some insane goddamn music. Mire Lore is the child of these two young dudes, and their debut record "Marrow Leech" has - over the past six months especially - become one of the most anticipated and sought after records of 2018. Watson has a very strong, dedicated fan base who know just how insanely talented he is as a vocalist and if you've seen him live, you know that his voice is definitely not the product of some overproduced computer program: Watson gets just as filthy and punishing live as he does on the records. Add in the insanely talented Cilella - who has also gained a legacy as his former band Bodysnatcher makes a strong name for themselves - as the instrumentalist on the record, and you got one hell of a fucking tag-team of pure, annihilating metal. Let me preface this as saying that while I love Enterprise Earth and have been lucky enough to see them live twice, Mire Lore is what I thought Enterprise was going to sound like when it was first announced. There is a very distinct different in sound between the two bands, and that is something you'll need to experience for yourself: there's nothing myself or anybody else could write that could really capture the difference not just in sound but in feeling you'll get between an Enterprise record-play through and a Mire Lore record-play through.
That being said, it is finally time: give your life to the Mire.
"Marrow Leech" is the bands debut full length, packing ten tracks that blend relentless death metal, black metal-esque vocal styles, and deathcore/beatdown style breakdowns all into one dark-feeling record. "Orb Weaver" slowly, quietly and eerily leads our dark descent into the album with spacious tones that resemble haunting ghosts crying out and somewhat bizarre "claps" that I feel resemble horse hooves clapping. Before long, the sheer brutality begins as everything is thrown at you right away: prepare to get your face fucking blasted with pounding drums, crushing guitars, and of course, Watson's signature demonic howls. One of my favorite Watson parts on this entire record occurs just about half way through this first song: in what sounds like Dan struggling to regurgitate something from deep within, he's added in these absolutely vile yet addicting shrieks that will haunt you even after the entire album is over (like it did for me). In the years that I've been listening to metal, I've never heard anyone make a sound like that before (and Watson does it over and over again, so you definitely won't miss it) and it is fucking sick. Works really well with the mental fucking chaos going on in the background, especially the blast beats that are just blasting away at your ear drums. It sounds brilliant and is a brilliant way to kick off this album. By the time you reach "Wrath of the Necromancer" in your first play through, you should begin to notice that Mire Lore sounds a lot like Watson's former work with Infant Annihilator on "The Palpable Leprosy of Pollution." And while this may get me some shit some IA fans, "Marrow Leech" feels like a cleaned up, more defined and improved version of the 2012 album. Marrow Leech is filled with dark overtones, slammy-guitars and vocals, and these absurd drum blasts that just set up this mood as you're listening that's just perfect. You'll find it all throughout the album: title track "Marrow Leech," "Weeping Willow," "Death Womb." That blend of slow, violent beatdown and death metal riffs and drum fills honestly left me speechless my first listen, and now that it's been out nearly three weeks, I still find something new and sick each listen.
Mire Lore also brought in some friends to add to the insane amount of talent the duo already have going: "Summoning" features Duncan Bentley of the mighty Vulvodynia, "The Gallows" features James Mislow of King fucking Conquer, and "Return to the Abyss" features Chris Wiseman, shredmaster of Shadow of Intent. Going into this I never would have expected these three guys to make an appearance on the album but goddamn am I glad they did; these are features that truly push their tracks to be just that much better, by adding their own extra flair that these three beasts in their own right have become notorious for. Three mind-bending tracks you'll want to hear. And it wouldn't be an appropriate review without mentioning the clean vocals that Dan Watson announced way before the album was released. The vocalist gave fair warning that you would be exposed to clean vocals on "Marrow Leech," and if anyone knows me, you'll know how incredibly picky I am when it comes to cleans. As shallow as it sounds, clean vocals just never did it for me once I got introduced to true death metal, and so it's always been hard for me to be fair when it comes to albums that feature cleans. But let me be crystal fucking clear with you: the cleans on "The End Is Near" is not only welcomed, but absolutely necessary for the track. The slow build with the piano in the background and Watson's high pitched belting sets a definite tone and feeling that you just wouldn't have accomplished with your standard metal growls. It sets up one of the more intense, punishing metal-parts on the entire album: the last minute and a half, the song gets out of control heavy and the sick intro set up by Watson's cleans honestly are what bring the song together. Another element of the album you'll need to hear to truly understand what I'm talking about.
"Marrow Leech" outdoes anything Watson or Cilella have put their hands on up until now; it's a compilation of some of the heaviest and most intense writing we have seen from a band this year. The elements of black metal, death and beatdown are all there and present throughout the album, and it's the wicked blending of the genres that allows "Marrow Leech" to really transcend the genre-defining niches that metal has these days. There really is a little something for everyone of the album, and I'm confident any open-minded metal fan will be able to appreciate at least a track or two off this, if not the entire album. "Marrow Leech" certainly won't be leaving my heavy rotation anytime soon, and now it's just a matter of hoping these guys can put together a live band and tour with this new already legendary set of songs; Mire Lore live would be the craziest shit ever. Buy this record.