Album Review: Grief Is No Ally // Mavis

MAVIS are essentially, as their press release states, “four guys from Germany expressing their love for modern metalcore.” Germany has a deep rooted love for all things rock and metal, so it’s no surprise that we have many bands who want to put their stamp on this wonderful genre of music. Metalcore does get stick because most bands sound similar. This leads to a lot of identikit bands. Personally, I’ve been listening to more prog metal, but truth be told, I always get excited about the modern metalcore scene. With bands like Invent Animate, Architects, and Currents satisfying my breakdown cravings, I am excited about this album.

MAVIS’ EP “Shades”, released back in 2020 showed some promise, with guitars and synths on “Monsters” colliding with some passionate unclean vocals. It’ll be interesting to see how this can be translated on an album. I found the opening song “Insight” to be identical to “Monsters”, which didn’t get off to the best start. But they really step it up a notch on “Calypso” with the filtered vocals transitioning into the filthy guitar riff. There is a lead guitar that interplays with the main riff, giving it that bouncy and melody. I absolutely love the chorus here, it sticks in your head, while there is a meaty breakdown followed by gang vocals. These make you feel like you are ascending. The combination of effects are really cool here. “Tortured Land” has some neat drumming, the reverb creating a dark gloomy effect to mesh with the upbeat music. You can see the influences here: Bury Tomorrow, Annisokay, which shows that MAVIS have great taste, but they put their own spin on things. As the album progresses there is the drumming on “Hollow Eyes” which packs a punch, while personally I’ve always liked pianos in metalcore choruses. They create a beautiful melody, which MAVIS have in spades.

“Limerent” offers something different, it is a stadium friendly song that has another catchy chorus. It gives an indication of where the band could be heading. The first time I heard it I wasn’t immediately sold, but the dynamics between both vocalists works like a charm. It shows that you need to give it a few listens to appreciate its genius. The synths in the middle of the song give a lot of atmosphere too. Similar with “ISOTO”, there is a hint of djent that recalls Holy Hell era Architects. Especially with the breakdown, adding a slick layer of heaviness. And even an “EUUURRRGH” along with dissonant chords. This is my favourite song because I find the lyrics very hopeful. What’s more, “Closer To the Sun” features technical riffs and a soaring chorus which reminds me of TesseracT.

MAVIS bring every style of modern metalcore and fuse it into a melting pot of infectious melody. “Grief Is No Ally” is a solid debut offering because it shows MAVIS’ have a lot of potential to make it big. If they continue where they’re heading, they will be playing major festivals soon.

Words by Ermis Madikopoulos

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