Edmonton based emo act Mahria has quite a lot of hurdles to overcome. With such a large number of hardcore outfits popping out of the woodwork these days-each more derivative than the last-it’s tough to stand out amongst the crowd. Sure, sure, passion goes a long way and such, but few bands can truly capture the attention of an entire scene, of which is conducive to “underground” outfits that seemingly flare up only to disappear relatively quickly. Mahria is decidedly different. Not only does the band have a penchant for crafting powerful and expressive tunes, but they make it all seem so effortless. Their latest release, and proper “debut,” is an exemplary display of why Mahria has so much to offer, and why listeners should really pay attention to a band that is fully capable of becoming the “next big thing.”
Releasing a split on top of their S/T Cassette
, and playing various well received shows around the Edmonton area, Mahria hasn’t been around all that long. Regardless, they’ve garnered a fair amount of attention, namely for their female vocalist, Corby Burnett. Now the word “gimmicky” pops into mind, as bands with female leads tend to become known as “a band with a girl screamer,” and sadly it can often define their existence. An unfortunate label for sure, but Mahria has more than enough skill and musicianship to overcome any distractions, especially the gender bias.
is a bit derivative at times, following the glut of Loma Prieta/Ampere inspired emo outfits that have become rather common these days, but it truly has enough freshness and originality to stand on its own. Listing genre darlings such as Orchid, Kidcrash, and Yaphet Kotto as veritable influences, Mahria has an incredibly diverse sound that ranges from intense, caustic hardcore a la Ampere, to a more “twinkly” and dreamy sound found in bands such as Empire! Empire! (I Was A Lonely Estate) and The Exploration. The instrumentation is dead on, with the guitarists displaying a respectable amount of technical prowess, while Burnett simply stuns as a vocalist. Her delivery is a furious amalgamation of passion and anger; a bold performance that proves that she has more than enough gall to stand tall next to even the most impressive of vocalists in the scene. The two guitarists play fast and chaotically, but the ways in which they play off of each other is exceptional. Never once do they buckle under the constantly shifting time changes, always keeping things interesting.
Mahria is an absolutely solid band, but this is only a part of what makes it such a great group of musicians. Each of the record’s seven tracks is candidly excellent. From the captivating opening guitar lines of “Lights,” to the last hellish explosion in “Save Yourself,” S/T Cassette
is full of astonishing moments. “Justification of an Old Man” displays the uncontained, more chaotic aspects of the band’s sound, with short explosions in between minor reprieves. “Ghost Limb” is unlike the previously mentioned track in that it comes across as more laid-back, but still retains the oppressively heavy atmosphere. There is a tremendous amount of diversity contained within S/T Cassette
’s 17 minute runtime, and it is all the more incredible for it.
Of all the up and coming groups out there, Mahria is definitely one that can, and should succeed. Full of passion and ingenuity, the band’s debut feels more genuine than just about any other release this year. S/T Cassette
is a marvel; a powerful debut that shows the evocative and visceral nature of a band that truly deserves all the praise and attention they can get.