Thrash metal/hardcore/post-rock from Sweden, debut full-length album released in 1994.
The year is 1994 and the venue is Bradford Rio in cold shitty Northern England. I was in attendance to watch one of my favourite bands, Downset. That particular night I heard Mary Beats Jane were in support. I didn’t know anything about them but felt I had heard the name somewhere before. My curiosity was peaked enough to move to the front just before they came on. I had a whopping six people to contend with at the front row, there was no one behind us for a good 10 yards. Such is the unfortunate reaction to a support band no one knows.
The band came out and regardless of the reception absolutely slayed. The stage was ludicrously compact for five people to stand and it was as if this cacophony of metallic splendour was just for us six people in a living room. Nothing else mattered to us except rejoicing in the absolute power and general genius of this band. They went through an album we didn’t know but that mattered not. Every song had riotous hooks, supreme and whirlwind drumming, extremely adept, proficient guitar histrionics and the songs already felt like firm friends.
Downset followed and suddenly the rest of the crowd burst into life but I had been converted – Mary Beats Jane stole the night from the headliner and not before or since have I witnessed a gig like it. I doubt I ever will. The very next day I surprisingly found the debut album. It was a mere £6.99. There are many things you can buy for seven quid but that was the best investment I have ever made. That album has got me through more bust-ups, losses and sickness than any other, and continues to do so to this day.
The songs were absolutely untouchable, from the opening histrionics of ‘Neighborhood Psycho’ to the closing chaos of ‘Coca Cola Report’. In the middle there were signs this band was no neanderthal metal or hardcore band – they threw in flecks of beauty, as on the flute assisted ‘Blood And Oil’. The lyrics were astounding, tales of loss, narcotics and madness. Where else would a metal band mention “Nietzsche” in the same lyric book as “Do that dumb cow, Red Riding Hood”?
Sure this was the result of a troubled mind but aren’t all geniuses troubled by something (usually themselves)? Peter Dolving was the chief whip, lyricist and singer extraordinaire but the musical backing was just as vital for MBJ to function as their immense, over the top selves.
After mass ignorance from the general musical public the band returned 3 years later with an unfathomable leap in moods. Where the debut was mostly fast paced and shouty, ‘Locust’ stepped off the gas and laid every emotional nerve bare. ‘Day In Day Out’, ‘Blackeye’ and ‘Fall’ were the sounds of a band about to disintegrate. Not because they were useless, far from it. Rather, a band this good and so versed in on-the-edge antics cannot stay around for long. The flame burns out as quick as it rises – and ‘Locust’ put the band to bed in the most confusing and bitter sense. Here were songs carved from openness and vulnerability yet still they pulsed with passion and verve. The album stands as one of the most underrated of all time, along with the debut of course.
Since then the band has retained cult status especially since Peter Dolving fronted the debut from The Haunted, and has since returned after the interim period with Marco Aro. Thus, he is in the spotlight more than ever, but we must not forget where he came from. How he first ignited the scene and produced some stunning art – he and the fellow MBJ members. The band is in the background but as of 2006 they are still somewhat active. A 7” was released in 2005 which is still available at www.futhermocker.dk
For now we may just see the band create another album and perhaps even play a show or two. Yet the clued up Swedes are no doubt aware of their legacy and that to play live now, they would still have to retain the intensity of the 1994 era. Bands like this don’t come along every day or even every decade. Mary Beats Jane stand alone as one of the greatest musical acts the world has ever produced and with the appearance of this page, now everyone can hear it.
The biggest compliment I can pay the group is to say that I no longer wish to be in a band but there is one outfit I would join in a heartbeat and that is Mary Beats Jane.
MARY BEATS JANE. Not an extremely well known name in Metal. But many of you may be familiar with the front man. None other than Peter Dolving, the original vocalist for THE HAUNTED. Well, MARY BEATS JANE was his band before joining THE HAUNTED.
I guess the music can be classified as Thrash. Or at least, it's the closest description I can procure. But it relies more on groove than brutality or melody. Much like old MACHINE HEAD, or maybe old FEAR FACTORY. It's definitely not very Swedish sounding. And definitely nothing like THE HAUNTED.
Peter also relies more on his clean voice than his Death vox. And it works quite well. It's a shame he didn't use it more in his time with THE HAUNTED. However, he still screamed with the best of them on this album.
So, if you're a fan of THE HAUNTED and are interested in related bands other than AT THE GATES, you may find this release interesting. Or if you just like good, hard, Heavy Metal, this release may also be for you. Too bad it's a rarity these days.
This is my own convert from flac to MP3 320k, quality guaranteed!
As requested by a fellow member from the United Kingdom!