Sat 15th July 2023
After such a promising, shadowy and somewhat uncanny debut EP, it’s a pleasure to witness the monumental reawakening of Mairu. Named after the Basque mythological giants, Liverpool’s finest purveyors of the colossal continue to ooze confidence in their sonic identity. Their unlikely brand of vast, brazen yet ultimately introspective music remains bold, rich and focused; returning are the raw, primeval tones, the sinister rhythms, the low tempo and even lower register, but with them comes something new.
Eager to lurk no more, Mairu declare their re-emergence with the monolithic Torch Bearer, which opens with a mesmerising passage of throat-singing. This hints that the once instrumental entity is ready to opens its titanic mouth, which swiftly comes to ungodly fruition with the commanding yet effectively sparing use of harsh vocals.
With Perihelion, Mairu retreat briefly to their instrumental lair, but the dirge is no less powerful as it builds to an immense climax, carried by some haunting lead melodies. Linked interlude pieces Inter Alia and Per Alia bind the record whilst teasing a glimmer of light, as some unexpected saxophone slips through the arid, post-industrial soundscape.
Wild Darkened Eyes lumbers like a thing possessed, before descending to some truly crushing depths. The monstrous vocals are used to core-shaking effect here, before the gears shift into The Scattering Dust, which looms with raw, unchained energy. As Dan Hunt’s frankly filthy bass guitar slithers through the mire and leads us blindly and willingly into a driving D-Beat, the remarkably heavyweight production allows every Lovecraftian musical contortion to shine.
Acknowledging a need for grounding, Atar begins with primitive intentions before settling into an earthy, counter-rhythmic groove, comparable to Sepultura at their most instinctive. With Rites of Embers, the group proudly brandish their Isis-ian influences, as extended tom-heavy drum patterns allow space for melancholic clean guitars to create a warm and surprisingly inviting atmosphere. The record closes with a sense of discovery; the beast that is Mairu has awoken to find it has grown gargantuan wings.