Thursday 5 May 2022

Cities Of Mars - S/T (Album Review)

Release Date: May 20th 2022. Record Label: Ripple Music. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Cities Of Mars - Tracklisting

1. Before The Storm

2. Towering Graves (Osmos)

3. The Prophet (Methusalem)

4. Song Of A Distant Earth (Hathra)

5. A Dawn Of No Light (Chthon)

6. The Dreaming Sky (Anur)

7. Reflected Skyline (Sarraqum)

8. The Black Shard (Bahb - Elon)


Danne Palm - lead vocals, bass, synths

Christoffer Norén - lead vocals, guitar

Johan Aronstedt - backing vocals, drums & percussion, sound FX


Cities Of Mars new self-titled album sees a lot of creative changes with the band as the band play a “less is more” approach with this release and drift slightly further into Prog Rock territory. The cosmic sounds the band are known for are still here fully intact. However, this is a different Cities Of Mars compared to their previous releases. The band have WO FAT legend and fellow Ripple Music alumni Kent Stump on mixed and mastering duties. 

Opening song Before The Storm is an Ambient/Drone based song with haunting distorted soundscapes slowly building up the atmosphere. The song is quite abstract with gloomy guitars appearing slowly. The vocals are quite restrained with the song being one of Post-Rock gloominess and it’s a superb track to open the album with.

Second song Towering Groves (Osmos) starts off with classic sounding and heavy thunderous Cities Of Mars grooves but with a more Ambient driven sound. The music has been dialed back a bit but still packs quite a punch in the volume department. There’s a John Carpenter/GOBLIN influence on this track with the haunting synths and a long gloomy psychedelic vibe allowing the heavy Sludge/Stoner elements thrive naturally.

Third song The Prophet (Methusalem) is built on progressive layers of Sludge/Stoner Metal with that cosmic psychedelic sound having a more eerie feeling to it all. The vocals are quite interesting with different styles. Clean doomy vocals from all three members give this song a more menacing feel. The song is quite slow-paced but the beautiful heaviness does have a cool Black Sabbath and SLEEP element to it all. Easily one of the standout tracks on the album with the distorted instrumental work being quite original in its own right.

What follows next is where Cities Of Mars venture into different areas we haven’t heard from them before such as Acoustic Rock with Songs Of A Distant Earth (Hathra). The song is still quite Spaced Out and that’s down to the fantastic gloomy lyrics and sublime vocals. There’s definitely a 70’s Prog Rock flavour to this song.

The second half of the album sees Cities Of Mars combine their new found “Acoustic” element and pure Prog heavy Sludge/Stoner Metal attack which remains sombre, thoughtful and brilliantly heavy on songs such as Dawn Of No Light (Chthon), The Dreaming Sky (Anur) and The Black Shard (Bahb - Elon).

This album is perhaps Cities Of Mars most important release to date. As the band feel they have discovered their true selves here with the mixture of Prog Rock. Acoustic Rock, Sludge Metal and Stoner Metal that are all bound by that Psychedelic Cosmic Rock groove that has been with the band since their first release all the way back in 2015. 

Cities Of Mars truly come into their own sound with this brilliant release and it’s another wonderfully produced release backed up by Kent Stump’s legendary mixing and mastering talents. Ripple Music are once again releasing Cities Of Mars new album and I’ve said this a thousand times before. Ripple Music always releases quality sounding releases and this is no exception. 

The band have achieved major creative strides with this album and perhaps released their most definitive work to date. The album can be quite challenging to hear in places but it’s exciting to see the new musical direction Cities Of Mars have taken with this album.

This record will no doubt appear on a few “Best Albums Of The Year” lists before the year is out. It’s already gained a place on mine.

Cities Of Mars self titled release is another must have release from the band.

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Claire at Purple Sage PR for the promo.

Cities Of Mars will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl via Ripple Music on May 20th 2022 from the links below.

Ripple Music EU

Ripple Music US


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