[3 August 2010]
PopMatters Contributing Editor
Calgary, Alberta duo Mares of Thrace seem to specialize in making lasting impressions. Their superb debut album The Moulting (Arctodus) deftly walks a line between the crushing riffs and primitive rhythms of Neurosis, the jagged, atonal sounds of Unsane and the Jesus Lizard, the mathcore cadences of the Dillinger Escape Plan, and well-timed melodic passages. In a live setting the band is even more striking, diminutive guitarist Thérèse Lanz howling and snarling away as she churns out baritone guitar riffs heavier than any dude can pull off, deceptively powerful drummer Stefani MacKichan alternating between devastating beats and graceful, fluid fills that feel more jazz-inspired than metal-derived.
Their brand-new video for “General Sherman” takes the cake, however. After starting out as a straightforward, well-shot performance piece, the Colin Hart-directed clip quickly shifts to a twisted, torture-porn storyline involving the ladies and an unsuspecting suitor. With MacKichan as the demure girl and Lanz as the evil, corpsepainted voice in her head, our heroines have their way with the fella in ultraviolent fashion, including an incident with garden shears that will make anyone wince. Though the video’s dark humor is undeniable, it also serves notice that Mares of Thrace are not to be trifled with, and heaven help anyone in the male-dominated metal world who judges these talented women on the way they look rather than the music they play. They’ll blindside you, either by their powerful tunes, or if need be, an Easton bat to the back of the head.