Sunday 1 September 2019

Mars Red Sky - The Task Eternal (Album Review)

Release date: September 27th 2019. Label: Listenable Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

The Task Eternal – Tracklisting

1. The Proving Grounds
2. Collector
3. Recast
4. Reacts
5. Crazy Hearth
6. Hollow King
7. Soldier On
8. A Far Cry


Julien Pras - guitars, vocals
Jimmy Kinast - bass guitar, vocals
Mathieu Gazeau - drums


It is always exciting times when Mars Red Sky releases a new album. So when opus four, 'The Task Eternal' is upon us it is nothing but joy to hear them play the beauty they have created with their magic wands. Don't know where their source of inspiration and creativity comes from, I mean four full-lengths and six EPs in 12 years is something else. I, for one, am not complaining though because Mars Red Sky are one of those rare entities who gets better and better with each new release. Perhaps they are like a red claret from their home region of Bordeaux which gets richer, fuller and tastier as the years roll on.

There's no mistaking that this is a Mars Red Sky long player since all their wonderful traits are present; the groove, the melodies, the other-worldly sounds and amazing imagery they project are all there. However, to me, there is one big difference, or addition, if you will. A darker tone is present in the sound throughout, which subsequently brings a new twist to the proceedings.

It all starts in opener, ‘The Proving Grounds’. The drums and the bass guitar really lay it down while keeping the pace mid-tempo. And that, combined with trippy guitars and hypnosis inducing vocals floating on top of everything, brings forth this new, darker feel to Mars Red Sky’s music. Wonderful! And this continues on ‘Collector’. Here the rhythm section is even more sinister with the guitar tone moving in a sphere between dark and spaced out layering. All while the vocals retains a trance-inducing meditative stance. Dropping down from mid-tempo to doom pace and stripped down ‘Recast’ is a strange but wonderful beast. Jimmy and Mathieu are relentless on the bass guitar and drums respectively which allows Julien to switch back and forth between crushing riffs, intergalactic solos and general badassery. It leads into the instrumental ‘Reacts’ without skipping a beat. However, it becomes more upbeat early on as the band kind of jams out…only to become almost funeral doom. And that solo, man, absolutely wonderful!

Almost bluesy wrapped in a slow lurking doom cloak ‘Crazy Hearth’ is mesmerizing and seductive. A lot of that comes from the extraordinary combination of the music and the vocals. Again Mars Red Sky are heavy and dark but the vocals, many times sung in harmony, creates amazing images in a way only this trio can do it. That beat in ‘Hollow King’ is pretty intense as the guitar cuts down everything in sight. This is sinister, indeed. All of a sudden the band launches out into outer space with wonderfully trippy segment. The odd thing here though are the Ghost-like vocals, especially in the chorus. Works great within the song and is as usual an opposite pole to the music. A touch faster than the other songs, not much but somewhat more, ‘Soldier On’ is very fuzzed out and I love it. Keeping a spaced out echo on the vocals makes the song dreamy and the solo increases this feeling as well. Kind of how I imagine an intergalactic trip through supernovas would be like. Closer ‘A Far Cry’ is an instrumental beauty with mainly an acoustic guitar and a bass guitar playing backed by space sounds, creating suggestive and wonderful landscapes (spacescapes?). A perfect contrast to the darker feel of ‘The Task Eternal’ and an invoker of hope and peace.

Mars Red Sky never disappoint, instead they step it up and push boundaries and genre rules away crafting and creating amazing music process. This is no more evident than on ‘The Task Eternal’. Fantastic stuff from a fantastic band, so I urge you, dear reader, if you have never listened to these giants….do so! Your world of music will never be the same and it will be better!

Words by Håkan Nyman

Thanks to Claire at Purple Sage PR. The Task Eternal will be released on CD/DD/Vinyl via Listenable Records from September 27th 2019.