Black Mare: Field Of The Host

Ides Of Gemini ice queen uncovers new sonic depths

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Black Mare is a vehicle for the not inconsiderable vocal talents of Sera Timms, bassist/singer with Ides Of Gemini and one-time member of the now defunct Black Math Horseman. This isn’t metal by any rational stretch of the imagination but an austere and enjoyable record that has its genesis in the 4AD art school sound of the early to mid-80s, which combined (some would say) the best sonic traits of sonorous gothic rock and proto shoegaze shimmer.

There’s something about this album that says: “It’s just easier for me to wear nothing but crushed velvet the colour of clotted arterial blood when I drink this much red wine, and this is also the reason why I don’t have to buy my favoured shade of purple lipstick.”

But this is more than a mere high-maintenance girlfriend/boyfriend album, rising far above the gothic clichés of doomed romance and the lazy insistence on neo-shoegazers hiding poor songwriting skills behind walls of digital reverb. These songs are like icy black pools. They may look threatening, but they’ll repay those who dive in deep.