It is always nice to return to the darkness. Black Mare is the musical alias of Sera Timms, who is the vocalist for some notable bands, Black Math Horseman and Ides of Gemini. My point of reference is Black Math Hoseman’s album “Wyllt”, which is amazingly powerful and epic album that dances around rock genres somewhere in the vicinity of “metal” but something altogether different.
Black Mare’s “Field of the Host” is nothing similar, except of course sharing a common vocalist. Sera Timms brings a different energy to this recording and it is quite lovely. I usually like to punctuate my reviews with “If you like X, you may like this”, but it feels appropriate to start with that here: Black Mare has a resounding similarity to the legendary darkwave group Lycia. I want to get that out of the way because reviewing this material is largely in observing the differences for me, which are notable. I definitely do not want to give off the opinion that Black Mare is a Lycia knock-off as this is far from the case. Lycia is a pointed a few degrees deeper into a rich ethereal sound and Black Mare is pointed deeper into a shroud of mystery. Black Mare’s dark, somber tone is somewhere between Lycia’s “A Day in the Stark Corner” and “Cold” while not being either. Timms soaks her soaring vocals in the finest reverberation, playing along with a beautifully washed guitar and steady, driving percussion.
This doesn’t feel like an album paying tribute to Lycia, nor does it feel like Black Mare is trying to be a torch bearer, this is a personal observation and it is entirely complementary: Lycia was one of the best gothic “darkwave” bands from the 1990’s, and about the best act to come off of Projekt Records. This is not a comparison I make lightly. Timms made a very powerful record that reminds me of what I found beautiful in Lycia, but pushes it into a whole new, powerful territory. This is music that is ghostly, written for candle lit rooms and perfect for accompanying a passing thunderstorm. Needless to say, I highly recommend it. High quality download is available for $7 at Bandcamp, which is a steal, and the whole album can be previewed on Black Mare’s Soundcloud page.