CULT OF LILITH — Mara (review)

CULT OF LILITH — Mara album cover Album · 2020 · Technical Death Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
UMUR
"Mara" is the debut full-length studio album by Reykjavík based, Icelandic death metal act Cult of Lilith. The album was released through Metal Blade Records in September 2020. Cult of Lilith was formed in 2015 by guitarist Daniel Thor Hannesson and vocalist Jon Haukur Petursson. They independently released the "Arkanum" EP in 2016, which attracted the attention of Metal Blade Records, who signed Cult of Lilith for the release of "Mara". Since the release of the EP Petursson has jumped ship, and Hannesson has built a five-piece lineup for the recording of "Mara". Cult of Lilith now appear more like a band, than a project. The lineup predominantly consists of Icelandic musicians, but new lead vocalist Mario Infantes Ávalos is from Spain, and his heritage actually has some impact on the music (more on that later).

Stylistically the material on "Mara" is technical death metal with the occasional nod towards progressive death metal. The music is generally very melodic, but also fast-paced, brutal, and features heavy grooves when that is called for. I´m reminded of as different artists as Gojira, Strapping Young Lad, Necrophagist, and The Black Dahlia Murder at various points throughout the release. Ávalos is a very versatile singer, and he both screams, snarls, growls, and sings clean vocals with great skill and conviction. He even adds some Spanish language lyrics to some of the tracks. It´s not the only latin music influence on the album as the track "Profeta Paloma" features an acoustic flamenco styled section with some spoken word Spanish on top.

"Mara" not only features intriguing songwriting, and top notch musicianship, it´s also a very well produced release, featuring a powerful, clear, and detailed sounding production, which suits the material perfectly. Being familiar with "Arkanum (2016)" I´m not surprised by the high quality of "Mara" and Cult of Lilith are definitely one of the more exciting new tech/prog death artists to appear in recent years, and "Mara" is not only a highly impressive debut album, it also shows great promise for what we may have in store on future releases. A 4 star (80%) rating is fully deserved.
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UMUR wrote:
52 days ago
I´m not always fond of "modern" death metal, but this one is pretty damn excellent and nicely adventurous. I like it.
Nightfly wrote:
52 days ago
I rate this album highly myself. In fact it's in my top 30 of 2020.
52 days ago
An accurate and succinct review indeed Jonas. I whole heartedly agree and was considering a review myself.

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