Gloson are a quartet (former quintet) from Sweden who seem to be devout apostles of the millennial “NeurIsis” post-sludge metal sound. Focusing on a modern production, the first band that might pop to mind when listening to “Mara” is fellow Swedes Cult of Luna. Fans of Adimiron and Gaerea shall also find something to sink their teeth into here.
“Mara”, a short two song EP, is the successor of their full-length effort “Grimen” (2017). “Grimen” was released by German label Art of Propaganda, also home for post-extreme metal favourites Harakiri for the Sky.
Gloson’s most recent release comes after a double change for the band: after their short stint in Art of Propaganda, they moved now to compatriot label Black Lion Records. Not only that, but also founding member Mikael has dropped from the project, so now Gloson are down to two guitars instead of three. In that sense, “Mara”, clocking in just over 15 minutes, probably comes as testing ground for Gloson’s new reality: to reconfigure their composition commands, now that they are one member shorter; and as a short pitch for their new label, perhaps hinting towards a sophomore LP.
As a song duet, “Mara”’s first offering, called “Usurper”, hits you the hardest: after a tiny five second intro, Gloson proceeds to hammer the listener with a sludgy doom riff. When the first verse rolls in, the guitars step down their game. Shortly after, a tremoloed line soars above, like a vulture circling around in a nightmare.
Nightmares are just the main theme of “Mara”, with Gloson stating that “the most graphic and terrifying [personal demons] occur during such states”. And what is more harrowing than a recurrent bad dream? Probably that’s why “Usurper”’s opening instrumental section appears twice more, playing as the song’s chorus, wrapping up the track at the end after a spoken word section and calmer passages in-between.
Alas, about “Equinox”, the EP’s second song. It can’t be said that Gloson hits a homerun. The band steps harder on the prog pedal, aiming for a more melancholic ambience than a hard-hitting one. The guitars meander through emotionally evocative chugs and riffs, but none of the song’s sections strikes as particularly memorable.
Atmospheric sludge is quite a tricky soil to thread, despite its relative newness as a genre. Armed with a remarkable production, perhaps “Mara”’s biggest issue is playing the ace up its sleeve right in the first round of the game.