Mare remains one of the enigmatic entries in the Hydra Head roster
of artists, as this eponymous EP represents the band's one and only
recording. This Canadian trio consisted of vocalist / guitarist Tyler
Semrick-Palmateer, Rob Shortil on bass, and drummer Caleb Collins.
The band had a short run from 2004 to 2007, emerging out of
Toronto's death / tech-metal community with Semrick-Palmateer
had cut his teeth on vocals in The End. On the five songs of Mare, the
band assembled a menacing composite of styles and forms --
sludge-metal, math-rock, classic prog idioms, and the diaphonic
harmonies from Bulgarian chorals.
Film and musical theatre also work into chimera of influences with
the band mentioning that both 2001: A Space Odyssey and Jesus
Christ Superstar had been in heavy rotation during the writing and
production of the album. Sonically, Mare concentrates on monolith
of trudging rhythms and densely packed riffs squeezed through
numerous time signature changes and sudden shifts in velocity.
Semrick-Palmateer's vocals are a unique feature to Mare's aesthetic,
throat-scraping with bellowing howls and harrowing screams before
gliding into the form of a silver-tongued crooner such Jeff Buckley or
even Chet Baker. "They Sent You" and "Tropics" situates the beatific
facet of the vocals in concert with gilded arrangement for French
horn before the trio locks into a formidable post-hardcore groove of
dissonance and crushed chord progressions.