*This is a part of our State Of The Art series, showcasing bands every Monday from the featured state*
This month’s state is Louisiana!
It’s Monday again and what better way to break your blues with some weed laced good stoner metal. Welcome back to my edition of State Of The Art segment, where today I am going to pass you a joint in the form of Louisiana’s stoner metal outfit MARS. Isn’t that a perfect name for a group of hippie stoner metallers? Like, who doesn’t wanna cash in for some good dark, gooey chocolate snack after you hit the greens? Just as good as Mars tastes in your mouth, the trio from New Orleans, Louisiana makes sure your aural desire gets served with full contentment.
Hailing from New Orleans, MARS are, as you may already know, a stoner metal trio with Mark Wood on bass, Matt Mars on drums and filling in on vocals and guitars is Andy Soda Pop. Formed in 2008, the band has two studio albums under it’s belt, namely, ‘Precession Of The Equinoxes‘ and ‘Reign Of Suns‘, surprisingly both released in the same month of February, 2017. The sound that this band heaves is heavy, grinding, slow and fuzzy to the core, thus satisfying every element and necessity of a stoner rock band. There are certain sections when the music is so slow it almost feels like a reptile meandering it’s way through thick bushes but still managing to crush everything in its way. The songs are always in double digit in duration, except “Alpha Draconis” from ‘Precession Of The Equinoxes‘, which clocks in at just under five minutes, and bloody hell what a song it is. It feels like you’re taking a walk across the hallway of a smoke clad eerie monastery as the monks chant their prayers in unison. The trip is viciously strong with this one!
With songs as long as nineteen and a half minutes it’s clear as a crystal that the band does indulge in diversity in their compositions. Just when you think you have hit the slowest and the most mean and grinding, distorted groove, MARS hits back at you with SLEEP-esque and Tony Iommi like crazy guitar solos. Solos that are impeccably long and meticulously carved into a marvellous aural orgasm. The vocals laid down by Andy Soda Pop, are harsh, and feels like a distant cry seeking help, but they really do sit well with the heavy, groove oriented fuzzy guitars. Vocals and guitars are done by Andy at the same time, so it helps him get a better idea what and how to complement both of those for a better aural experience. The drums are well executed as well, slow and impounding when needed and fast and groovy when the situation demands. The cymbals, snare and toms make the perfect fitting sound and gel well with the other harmonics.
‘Precession Of The Equinoxes‘ and ‘Reign Of Suns‘ are both equally excellent records. It’s groovy, slow and wretched to mid paced to fast, fuzzy and relentless riffing stoner doom. Apart from the regular stoner metal characteristics, MARS’ blend of stoner metal is progressive as well. The occult and psychedelic connections are pretty strong with the band’s material, the lyrics emphasize on pretty weedian concepts like astronomy and the space. I say weedian cause that’s what I like to think when I am high. It’s like 1960s COVEN had a baby with SLEEP. MARS reeks of heavy ambient as well, a perfect background of typical brooding nature on which you could have the best sessions of weed. Mark Wood on bass provides the backbone for the band, with every note almost earth shattering and pulverizing, the grizzly tone it delivers is something what stoner metallers yearn to achieve over the years.
All in all MARS is Louisiana’s one of the best exports in stoner metal and they are definitely killing it with their spiraling, greasy and highly viscous nature of fuzz laden doom/stoner metal. With just two albums to their name, the band has been achieving success in the Louisiana underground scene. I am so glad to have stumbled upon them, they certainly have found a fan in me. Walking on the footsteps of godfathers SABBATH, SLEEP but at the same time not just ripping them off, MARS are truly getting the ball rolling, or should I just say getting the joint rolling? Hah!
MARS are a regular on the live circuit and they might hit your nearest pub and change it to a stoner’s dungeon. Check them out, they won’t disappoint you. Stream both the albums down below and if you like them enough click on them and go buy the albums. Show your support towards underground bands and if they are especially as good as MARS then just buy it damn it!