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Calgary’s Mares of Thrace Take A Metal Pilgrimage to Blind Bob’s

By Gary Spencer

Sometimes the most compelling music comes from unexpected sources.  Enter the two-girl doom metal duo Mares of Thrace.  Hailing from the musically inconspicuous Canadian city of Calgary, the Mares have been honing their own take on the doom and sludge musical style since 2009, imprinting their own fingerprints on the music into something fresh and that stands out from the all too many stylistic copycats that unfortunately flood the underground doom scene.  The dynamic duo of Therese Lanz (guitar, vocals) and Stefani MacKichan (drums) recently released their second full length album, The Pilgrimage, via Sonic Unyon Records in late April.  The Mares’ newest opus is surprisingly full sounding for a metal group consisting solely of guitar and drums, and their penchant for meaty, catchy riffwork, bash ‘em in drums and venomous, hoarsely barked vocals that will leave an indelible mark upon both listeners of the metal persuasion and otherwise.  And the fact that all this harshly bitter musicality is coming from two attractive women has definitely raised an eyebrow or two in the wake of their sonic assaults both on record and in live settings.  Mares of Thrace are currently on tour and will be making a stop at Blind Bobs in Dayton on Sunday, and rest assured these ladies plan on giving the audience more than they may have bargained for.  I recently spoke with frontwoman Therese Lanz about all things Mares of Thrace related and here’s how our conversation went …

Please give me a short history of the band.

Stef and I have been playing together in unsuccessful various heavy projects for ten years now. This is our third band together. We’d wanted to start a slow-heavy band basically since the first time I heard the Melvins. [Therese Lanz]

What are the band’s musical and lyrical influences?

Musically, what calls to us the most is the evilness of doom and the chaos of noise rock. Lyrically … well, I just do whatever the voices in my head tell me. [TL]

How would you describe Mares of Thrace to a stranger?

I would describe Mares of Thrace as an armada of angry drag queens riding nuclear warhead-equipped rabid rhinoceroses in a kamikaze mission of destruction into an Alabama Pentecostal megachurch service. [TL]

Some people are surprised to see two attractive young women creating the nasty, sludgy music that you do. Have you encountered any resistance or sexism in the metal underground?

We’ve received an assload of resistance, sexism and bafflement, and I’m sure every woman in a heavy band has at some point. We’ve been dismissed out of hand (“I’m just not into chick bands” is a phrase I’ve heard) before we even got to play a note. People on the internet have said gross, creepy things about us but not bothered to listen to any of our tunes. People have called us “gimmicky,” which particularly angers me since it implies that people who are statistical outliers are incapable of producing anything sincere or authentic.  What would you like me to be in order to be deemed legitimate -a fat dude with a beard?  That said, there are also a ton of people who don’t give a fuck. I like those people and it’s them I choose to focus on. [TL]

Mares of Thrace will be playing in Dayton again this Sunday. Was a return to our city by your own request?

Hell yeah, it was by my request! We played in Dayton last year, our second American show ever, and it was awesome! A packed Monday night with delicious beers on tap? That’s how to make me want to come back to your town! [TL]

Please tell me about your new record, The Pilgrimage.  Is it a concept album?

This record isn’t anything so lofty as a “concept album” … rather a series of stories about fucked up, dysfunctional little characters, some real, some fictitious. We feel it’s a step forward in terms of cohesiveness and heaviness. [TL]

What was it like to have your 2010 album The Moulting named Canadian metal album of the year?

Baffling. I feel like the nerd kid who suddenly all the cool kids are being nice to, and there’s a part of my brain that keeps wondering if I’m just getting set up for a giant prank of some kind. [TL]

How do you see Mares of Thrace growing and evolving in the years to come?

In terms of our evolution … well, it may take some time, but I’m hoping to make the next one eviler and grosser than this one was. [TL]

(Mares of Thrace will perform on Sunday, May 20 at Blind Bobs, 430 E. Fifth Street in Dayton.  Imbroglio and The Isosceles Project open.  Show begins at 9p.m.  For more details call 937-938-6405 or visit www.blindbobs.com.) 

Reach DCP freelance writer Gary Spencer at Gary Spencer@DaytonCityPaper.com.

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