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Saying goodbye to The Mire: post-metal’s best-kept secret

The Mire Vice Regalia

A week ago, The Mire were the best post-metal you’d (probably) never heard of. Now they’re not even that. Friday saw both the release of their final record Vice Regalia, and also the dissolution of the band, which had unfortunately dwindled down to founding member Robin Urbino, and was no longer viable as a creative outlet.

Born in 2009, I first heard The Mire via a free 2-track demo Eyesofsound mailed me with a copy of CrydebrisThe Severing. It was post-metal, but not as we knew it.

For all their merits, the greats of the genre like ISIS, Neurosis and Cult Of Luna have created a culture of taking a way too long to get to the point. The Mire saw opportunity, amongst all the sprawling epics, to hack away at the fat with a hatchet and birth some of the most immediate, crushing modern post-metal available today. The guitars of “Wheelwalker” almost physically shine, and those bright, resonant cymbals are wonderfully cacophonous, whilst “Fears” is ten stories of driving, relentless magnificence.

Both tracks were repurposed for The Mire’s first proper release, 2010′s Volume II. The four tracks that preceded them showed flair beyond just the disproportionately heavy, with pianos wrapped around graceful vocal melody.

Even 2011′s split with Chronos bore a pair of tracks that displayed both progression and startling songsmanship. Two parts of a whole, every part of the performance is crystalline in its perfection. Vocalist Robin Urbino’s throaty roars express more than mere rage, opening like a ragged flower; dripping with emotion.

Somehow, The Mire never got signed for their debut – and only – full length. It beggars belief a little bit, because not only was Glass Cathedrals The Mire’s opus, but a seminal example of the genre in this decade. After several label approaches falling through, the band dropped the record unceremoniously one February weekend. I listened to it non-stop all year, named it my favourite album of the year

You can read my full thoughts on it here, but in short, it’s an absolutely divine experience, unsheathing gargantuan riffs and bristling with both lyrical intrigue and vocal power. It’s really the complete package.

A year and a half after its release, and with all but main composer Robin fallen by the wayside, The Mire released final outing Vice Regalia. As a final statement, it’s actually the most experimental; laced with tremolo picking and blast beats, the unshakeable chill of black metal is unshakeable. It won’t be for everyone – it’s funnily also the most abrasive record The Mire have released, for all their towering, bludgeoning work in the past – but it’s absolutely, undeniably within the band’s sonic palette.

It’s a shame it won’t be explored any further. Speaking to Heavy Blog Is Heavy, Urbino said:

“The end was inevitable, but I felt like I needed to record this one last EP before I could also move on. At this point in time I feel like I’ve said all I want to say via The Mire and it feels right to stop now.”

So we’re left with a modest legacy; 23 tracks of utter brilliance. Like lungs lamenting oxygen, we’ll miss their like for some time to come. It’s not the end for Robin, though; he added:

“I will definitely continue to make music and I’m looking forward to whatever comes next. No idea what that is yet, though.”

All of The Mire’s releases are available via Bandcamp. You might also find some of the vinyl floating around from time to time; they’re highly recommended.

RIP The Mire 2009-2015