Unsigned and Unholier: Why Are The Mire Still Unsigned … and Why Aren’t You Listening to Glass Cathedrals NOW??
By now, you know how this thing works: we dig out some cool, lesser-known bands from the deepest chasms of the internet, with the belief that you’ll enjoy them too, and the hope that, somewhere down the line, big things will be in store for these hand-selected gems. Yet some of these very talented artists puzzlingly continue to elude greater notoriety, and also continue to release incredible material in spite of their free agent statuses.
The Mire completely swept me off my feet and earned a some big thumbs up from the other guys in MS Mansion when I discovered their second EP, Vol: II, a couple of years ago. The group did the one thing about 95% of post/sludge metal bands refuse to do, which is playing with convention. The way I see things, post rock/metal isn’t all that different from progressive music. Both movements had their beginnings in traditions that avoided pop sensibilities and the norms of their parent genres with the aim of exploring uncharted territories. But after some decades of walking the same off-beaten path, not a whole lot of fresh ideas have turned up. The Mire digs back into the original wells of inspiration to avoid this crisis of the unconventional.
Who says you can’t have clean/”catchy” choruses in your songs? Who says all of your songs have to be 7-10 minutes long? These are the, now, equally played out genre assumptions that have made most of Isis, Neurosis, and Pelican’s followers so freaking boring. While there’s no doubt in listening to The Mire’s first full length record, Glass Cathedrals, that they belong firmly to the genre discussed above, their all around approach is completely different. Every piece of their precious time real estate earns its rightful place on this album and keeps the 45-minute work unpredictable and exciting throughout.
Guitarist/singer Robin Urbino is the perfect example of a metal vocalist who knows how to apply his prettier inclinations. To say a singer uses his voice as an “instrument” has become a tired saying of its own, but in this case it describes Urbino to a tee. His roars are among some of the most rattling in the genre, but his clean voice is the group’s x-factor. Whether it’s used in the aforementioned clean/semi-catchy choruses (which are impeccably placed and never contrived) or as a ghostly layer adorning the band’s walls of down-tuned discordance, it makes for a tremendous asset and significant part of The Mire’s appeal.
But what of the songs themselves? For all their apparent succinctness, one could devote plenty of text space to describing the diversity and attention to detail present on this disk. I’ll spare you the hyperboles, but I will say that few bands can so tastefully and unpredictably navigate the narrow crevice between sludge metal, doom, prog, alternative rock, and (ever so slightly) djent. If you enjoy The Ocean, Intronaut, or Cult of Luna, you’ll be kicking yourself for not finding these menacing Brits sooner. An early 2014 top album contender for sure.
Stream Glass Cathedrals below.