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They just need to gel damnit - 79%

Liquid_Braino, December 5th, 2014
Written based on this version: 2014, CD, Independent

Singer Marina departed Destrose earlier this year, and I was bummed. If you check out that band visually, they've gradually evolved from a tough biker girl image to their current cutie-pie look, and maybe Marina could only handle so much cuddliness. I mean, she's a tough looking cookie, and bears an attitude that evokes the phrase "If you call me a sensitive girl again, I will remove your balls in a sensitive manner." Destrose' replacement vocalist fits their newer incarnation a little more snuggly, offering the impression of being the type to surprise the sound engineers during recording sessions with a fresh batch of cupcakes. Out with Buttercup, in with Bubbles.

Marina sure as hell wasn't giving up on music though, forming this new conglomerate and spitting out a single in a relatively short time. Mardelas isn't really just her little vehicle with a grab-bag of session players. This girl has garnered some major connections, and her roster is an absolute fucking supergroup as far as I'm concerned. This is like Blind Faith with a better bass player. Featuring dudes from Alhambra, Tears of Tragedy, and fucking Light Bringer, these bastards are absolute monsters on their instruments and with Marina's raging vibrato at the helm, I wasn't sure what to expect, but I figured it would floor my ass to 911 levels. To be honest, it turned out to be merely decent.

"Daybreak" is constructed like the obvious A-side, chugging along at an upbeat mid-tempo gait throughout and reeks of typical heavy J-rock, yet shoehorns in some extra soloing, including some bass guitar showboating (and why the hell not since Light Bringer's Hibiki is on board; bass solos should be mandatory).

The biggest surprise for me though is Marina's delivery. She was a good frontwoman for Destrose, adding some snarly edge to her pipes, but for Mardelas, it's as if she had to prove herself not merely as the centerpiece of her band, but to her fellow cohorts. Nothing against the fine ladies of Destrose, as they're no slouches, but these motherfuckers can shred in their sleep with their arms tied to bedposts. Thus Marina belts out notes with a range I'm sure I've never heard her reach before, and her crystal clear yet pissed-off tone is almost at odds with the spritely melodies despite the metallic crunch. A perfect pitch yet borderline unhinged, she sounds like she's ready to pull a gun on the poor engineers fumbling with knobs behind the glass. "YOU WANT CUPCAKES? I'LL GIVE YOU FUCKING CUPCAKES!!" Perhaps that actually happened, since they managed a crackling good job with the mixing board.

Whereas "Daybreak" flirts with a mainstream approach, "Phantasia" is generally a faster power metal excursion, albeit with an unexpected segue into ballad territory for a spell and less room for soloing. Marina's final shriek is one for the ages; I felt my throat stretching just by listening to that ungodly vibrato wail. It's my preferred track of the two, but throughout much of it I actually wasn't "wowed" as much as I would have liked.

I guess that's my main beef here, although in retrospect, it's not usually the norm in which a supergroup forms and releases something worthy of the term 'super'. There's the propensity for ego clashes and with everyone except the singer involved in other groups at the time of this recording, a bunch of overachievers meshing seamlessly right from the band's inception is a rare occurrence. With two Light Bringer members in tow, the melodic Jpop undertone wasn't exactly a surprise, but the chord progressions utilized felt more like stock riffs delivered in a familiar fashion instead of an inspired amalgamation of incredible talent. I'm not saying that I was looking for insane wankery and prog monstrosities as this is Marina's baby after all, but a little more creativity in coming up with more original ideas instead of rehashed formulas in the future could catapult this team to the top of the heap. They obviously possess the chops; they just need a little more inspiration, if nothing else than to match up with Marina's reckless passion.