Mare Infinitum set out in 2010 and released a full-length in 2011 and a second one in 2015. For each of these two, they broadened the scope of their music leading to this release seven years after the last one. The musical sphere in which they operate on this album is near to unfathomable. It is a grandiose display of visionary musicianship that defies any genre one tries to narrow it down to. It is clearly rooted in Doom Metal and Death Metal, but add the angelic choir, the operatic vocals, the epic, orchestral arrangements and melodic themes and this goes beyond styles and genres.
”Your Final Bow” opens the vast soundscapes with a timpani carrying a mighty choir and operatic male vocals. And from the very first timpani stroke, the first choir note sung, and the first syllable uttered by the opera-style vocals, we are at what sets this album apart from most metal-related. I am tempted to call this feat that they have achieved Operatic Doom Metal or Orchestral Doom Metal. The strong male and female vocals and the wonderful choir accompanied by synths in string mode, lift the music many times throughout the album, venturing far into symphonic textures. Thus, conjure up an atmosphere of emotions and passion that make one think of the grand romantic composers of the 19th century.
After the choir and the vocals have opened the album, the song takes a turn to a dim part with distorted guitars and the deepest growling I´ve heard before a solo guitar lifts the music toward the sky. The song shifts between these modes. Towards the end the atmospheric soundscape is gently filled with organ and synths making boundless sonics to once more support the vocals and choir which are followed by the guitar before the music drifts away. As they tell us on Facebook, this song is a eulogy to their former bass player and friend Roman Gungrind who died suddenly in 2017.
The second song ”The Flight of No Return” also has that kind of interchanging between verse and chorus. Not in a normal pop-song way, but with strong female vocals taking the lead, after a thunderstorm has opened the song, supported by a piano and spacious synths. The drums appear to purvey a slow pace while the steady and strong vocals continue the first chapter of the song. Then the choir emerges with the chorus led by male vocals held up by distorted guitar. A neo-classical piano leads the interval joined by a mourning guitar solo. The female vocals return and are followed by the male ones and the choir, the latter elevates the track over its vast and multilayered atmospheric parts. The music and the choir evolve into the reminiscence of a grand requiem that eventually disappears into heavy rain. The song is a memorial to the people on board Flight 612 that crashed due to a thunderstorm in 2006. Knowing this, the song becomes extremely touching, and the opening with a thunderstorm and ending with falling rain are as powerful as can be.
”Event Horizon” is less orchestral than the previous two but just as fascinating as it is has the deep and slow paces of Funeral Doom. The song has no opening; it just sucks one in with a solo guitar, drums, and wide-reaching bass and synths to start the 12 minutes song inspired by Stephen Hawking. For the first half of the song, we are treated with strong male vocals, the ever-present choir, and synths. A change of pace opens up for a guitar solo over ebbing and flowing synths. The song simmers down with a fuzzy guitar accompanied by distant thunder before it morphs into Funeral Doom pace with deep growling vocals. The music becomes denser with distorted, deep, wide bass-lines and slow drums driving slowly forward immersed in multilayered sounds. The song leaves its Funeral Doom roots as the choir once more elevates the music together with strong male vocals. The music turns a bit dissonant closing the song disappearing into sounds from outer space recorded by NASA.
“Cryosleep” finds its inspiration in the scarification of three Incan children 500 years ago, sedated and buried in a shallow grave. The song opens with a choir and native instruments with distant sounds. A perfect musical description of cold winds over a 6700 meters high mountain where the mummified children were found. The song’s main vocal line is both clean and resentful growing lower until it is growling out the words. The rhythmic music and the surrounding instruments hold a mode of reflection over a misdeed done. Together with the choir and the orchestral multilayered arrangements, the guitar solos and the piano, both soft and hard, give an eerie backdrop of what humans are capable of in the name of the religion they practice.
On the last song, “Celestial Escapist”, the band certainly aims to go out on a high and positive note. And man, do they succeed! One can only imagine how much work it takes to make it sound as simple and easy-going as this. The song takes on many genres, mixes them, and sometimes runs lively along after the start with heavy bass, synth and female vocals. It is overtaken by fast melodic music, turning into progressive rock. There is a shift of pace and the music dips effortlessly into Death Metal with growling vocals. And the shifts continue, they even have a section with synths reminiscent of the synth giants of the 70s. This is followed by a release with a solo guitar that leads to Progressive Metal and then back again to the sound of 70s Progressive Rock. When the choir joins the strong male vocals at end the album, it sounds like a joyful homage to Rick Wakeman´s Journey to the Centre of the Earth with Ashley Holt on vocal duties!