Maximilian Wentz's debut 10-track album MARE shreds your nerves with terror, evil and betrayal
Updated: Feb 1
Maximilian Wentz, Boston-based career enthusiast of heavy metal and heavy rock music, released his debut album MARE on January 27, 2023. The album aims to keep you hooked throughout all 10 tracks and creates a fight within for the victim's plight to escape. From melodic runs to moving power ballads to guttural riffs, MARE is a brilliant and unique mix of vocals and instrumentals that successfully showcases the extremes of the dominant emotions of terror, evil, desperation, angst and betrayal. The intensity of these songs doesn’t rise through frantic speed, and It is more the well-positioned thundering riffs and the massively working rhythm sections that slams each of the songs directly into your mind. The strategic alternation between the calm stripped down and frantic aspects, creates non-stop surprises along the way. The desperation tugs at you, until you feel the subject's all in drive to fight back. There is so much to discover in MARE, with its unique genre blending content of heavy metal, metal core, alternative and heavy rock music.
The album is an impressive achievement given Maximilian's busy schedule with work, graduate school at Berklee College of Music and teaching.
MARE is inspired by the horror and suspenseful adventure video game series Little Nightmares (mostly focused on the second game in the series Little Nightmare II), as well as from the artist's own life experiences and perspectives. The album's story follows the two main characters of the video game, a girl names Six and a boy named Mono, as they navigate their way through a world inhabited by horrific monsters, and various other life-altering threats. Mono, the young boy is trapped in a world that has been distorted by an evil transmission. Together with new friend Six, he sets out to discover the source of the transmission.
Little Nightmares is a dark whimsical tale and puzzle adventure game that will confront you with your unforgettable childhood fears. The game was developed by Tarsier Studios and published by Bandai Namco Entertainment for PlayStation 4.,In the game, players play as a girl named Six, who must escape the ship called the Maw through the avoidance of huge and aggressive monsters. Due to her versatile skills and mystical powers, she can hide or run away from opponents seeking to catch and destroy her, and she is the main antagonist of the game. It is like the classic nightmare many can relate to of a desperate escape from creepy monsters that aim to harm and destroy those in their pathway. The player is generally rendered helpless in their stealth-based environment due to the lack of any combat abilities and must rely on stealth and the environment to hide from the various enemies. On a few occasions, the player is given tools that even the odds slightly and allow them to fight back. The development team's mission was to explore the wild extremes of childhood.
As the listener begins their journey through MARE, they hear the two main characters come face-to-face with the monsters, The Guests, The Lady, The Hunter, The Teacher, The Doctor, and the Thin Man, who each stand in the way of their salvation.
As the story progresses, the lines between good and evil and friend and foe, are blurred, and the ultimate act of betrayal wins. MARE specifically focuses on the tragic tale of Mono, whose perspective is incorporated in the lyrics, along with his selfless desire to help Six no matter what obstacles are confronted. Each song is also inspired by Max's personal experiences as well as on the hardships that people encounter in their everyday lives. Mare's songs cover many emotional challenges including abuse, depression, rebellion, anger, selflessness, compassion, betrayal and vengeance. The song lyrics often speak of the darkness of the human soul, the struggle to overcome them, and the state of the world.
Maximilian first discovered the Little Nightmares series through watching a friend play it in college. He became mesmerized by the gameplay, storyline and the environment within the fame, quickly becoming a fan of the game. Understanding its characters and its world. he was able to associate certain aspects of the story with his own real life experiences. The character Maximilian most identified with was Mono, so the album follows his tragic and moving world, one much like that of antagonist Darth Vader. One song lead to another, and Max became submerged into the game and its crossover to his own life's experiences. Early on he wanted to write a full album and felt a metal album would capture the riveting emotions and terrors the characters confronted.
Maximilian is a multi-instrumentalist, and took advantage of his musical depth by playing all the instruments on the album including guitar, bass, piano and drums. This was his first time embracing his own version of metal, with each track having its own unique mix of instruments that shred your nerves and keep you on edge.
Maximilian grew so much as an artist developing the project...MARE has been an incredible step in the evolution of my music and has helped me understand more about who I am as an artist in multiple ways. I entered the recording process of this album with the mindset that I was going to truly test myself, not only to see if I could record an entire album on my own, but to see if I could go to that truly dark place on these tracks and come out on the other side. I am happy to say that I was able to do both of these things and that I now know I have even more to give on my next album. Writing and recording MARE was also an incredible learning experience for me, as I got to work with my incredible friends from On The Fringe Studios in West Newbury, MA, who showed me what goes into creating an album when it comes to production. Lastly, writing and recording MARE helped me realize that the possibilities are truly limitless when you stay true to yourself and the sound you are hoping to achieve. The freedom of creativity surprises along the way on every decision made and every chord played.
A recap of MARE follows:
Swirling strings, crushing riffs, sinister and edgy melodies, loaded growling vocals, and brilliant dynamics and sicker breakdowns make the album a monument of bloodcurdling metal.
Right from the song's first verse, "Teacher" immediately crashes through aggressive metallica-infused power to raise the pulse and anxiety of anyone hearing it, seconds after clicking play. The tempo is frantic, setting the scene of a world under constant threat before slamming the brakes on for low end metal grooves that prepare you for the next round of whiplash slamming in the harsher vocals and raging aggression created in the build up. One can't help but feel the chaos that crashes in and out throughout the song, and the guttural vocals appropriately capture the intensifying fear.
The song uses a classroom environment to portray a group of student's rebellion and the all in battle against corruption from an abusive teacher who exists to put others down and feel worthless. Old-school metal riffs and air-raid slides kick in throughout the chorus and effectively raise the moods intensity, Wentz is no stranger to raging, quick-picked chaos, and he brilliantly weaves in and out of the students emotional turmoil. Their determination breaks through on the chorus, and the emotions heighten in the build up to the final chorus.
"Centerpiece" is a heavy, wild and relentless track that showcases eerie lullaby vocals, earthshaking growls, and powerful melodic singing combined with fast-paced grooves and dynamic guitar riffs. It is instantly captivating, infusing tasty guitar melodies showcased in cool solo parts, and rides along with seismic-shifting breakdowns. One part of the MARE album is inspired by the game series Little Nightmares, and is focused on the story of "The Lady", one of the series most notable monsters who thrives on destruction.
She is the centerpiece
To her own crooked world
Fighting the hands of fate
She’s destined to unfurl
She is the centerpiece
To her own crooked world
With destruction on her mind
At all times
The song is about envy and how this quality can evolve into anger and malice. Wentz covers all the instruments in the track including vocals, guitar, bass, drums and synth. The shifts in the transitions throughout the song bring elements of surprise and intrigue, as the momentum moves from lullaby vocals to aggressive and alarming guttural vocal blasts that solidify the terror all around.
The progression of the song is well-planned following a nice oscillation between tension and release. The growls come in to stay for 20 seconds shifts and release into story-telling episodes of introduction of "The Lady" monster being the "centerpiece of her own crooked world." "She sees right through, she sees through you, she's the queen of nothing", is a great lyric that sets up the image of the monster as an empty shell that has no power to rule, and is blindly existing.
"The Sixth" continuously surprises with the song's dramatic instrumental, vocal layering and tempo transitions. Max shows his melodic side at the start of the song with tastefully spaced acoustic and ambient sections, and quickly transitions to eclectic guitar solos, heavy riffs and unexpected episodes of angry ranting growls. The vocals are both quiet yet commanding, soft yet fierce. As the emotions ramp up, the head bobbing tempo makes you feel the entrapment and battle to escape. It carries on like a cosmic avalanche keeping listeners committed to see a return to home and a familiar space. The artwork created by a professional artist, compliments and aligns to the song's mood and intense turmoil.
The lyrics brilliantly capture the struggle within and monsters in view using metaphors of monsters and shipwrecks to paint his dark scene.
I woke up one day
Just to find myself just so far away
Like a bird in a cage
Trapped in an unfamiliar place
I've crawled through the vents
And I've been in the halls.
Avoiding the monsters
They seem to call my name
Don't know where I'm going, but know where I've been
"I've promised not to let what's inside win"
Where is home?
Feels like so long ago
"The Hunter", specializes in an intense metal of melodic and symphonic variety with neoclassical eerie guitar leads, and a foundation of mid-tempo grooving riffs and transitioning vocals that capture the new releases extreme emotions and subject’s fears. Vocals surge from soft chill melodies to gripping strength as the song progresses to terror jolting explosions in the choruses. The choruses are both melodic as they are heavy hitting. The song is inspired by the horror video game series Little Nightmares and is specifically about one of the games most notable monsters, The Hunter. "The Hunter" is also inspired by some of the real life struggles people endure on a daily basis such as emotional and physical abuse and shattering toxic relationships.
The lyrics climax into the catchy chorus, delivering the scene's desperation and plight for survival to escape the hunter's control and hold.
I feel a jolt of fear in my bones
I fall to my knees
Pale as a ghost
He points his weapon
right at my face
I feel my heart starting to race
The Hunter has come to take me
Into the darkness of night once again
The Hunter has come to take me
Save yourself while you can
The song’s artwork provides dark and mysterious imagery that appropriately captures the song’s mood and sense of desperation.
The song combines multi-genres woven throughout of rock, alternative rock, and heavy rock. The song is about wanting to save someone from their own darkness despite knowing you could get hurt doing so. You feel the urgency and desperation to escape terrors grip, and not let the shadows win the encounters. Wentz successfully incorporates every element available to deliver the fight of survival, and he does it all with his own instrumentals on drums, guitar, bass and anthemic vocals. The song transitions with episodes of calmness and ramps into powerful and heavy guitars locking horns with pounding drums to portray the power within to prevail over life and death to overcome what lies in the shadows of darkness.
The lyrics can be applied to everyday life as we encounter new challenges that require us to get to tomorrow, and not allow the “shadows to take us away.” The hook lyric line, “Tomorrow is not far away”, repeats throughout the song making you believe that survival is imminent. The past is the past Don’t look back Just run faster We’re under attack Cause your silhouette Isn’t really what it seems Finding the way out of this place Terror‘s grip we‘ll finally escape Cause your silhouette Isn’t really what it seems And your silhouette Seems to be following me
When the artist transitions from acoustic guitar to electric it’s interesting and quite entertaining to hear. My admiration is towards the artist’s ability to mix clean vocals and growling, truly mesmerizing! Now, about the guitar solo, it’s an absolute face-melter and the shredding technique is top-notch! That, in combination with the rising tempo of the drummer’s finesse, sounds like a brilliant point in the song.-Illustrate Magazine
Your Silhouette is an absolute masterclass in how to maintain interest in a long song by breaking it up into exciting little sections. There’s some truly “urgent” feeling moments where the drums just take off – with a fantastic and very present kick drum sound. The rise and fall throughout the track is simply stunning. We loved the head-noddingly-good half time moment and the dramatic change of pace throughout the entire track. At almost 6 minutes long, there wasn’t a second where we weren’t utterly enthralled.-Send Me Your Ears
"The Future" is about realizing you can't save the everyone and it is also about the fear of becoming the impending arrival of the thin man and the fear of becoming the very evil you are trying to stop. The song has episodes of calmness and then blasts into wakeup anthems. There is a fear of being left behind and a desperation of escaping the surrounding traps.
It’s getting hard for me to see
Are you the future that waits for me?
Am I the villain in my own story?
In the corner of my mind
Fragments of peace I try to find
Still I fear I will be left behind
The song jumps right to the instrumental power then moves to
beautiful melodic anthem vocals to extreme shifts to anger.
"I've been walking right by your side this whole time, Am I the hero or the fool?" The song is about the realization that not everyone you are trying to help wants the best for you, cares about you and will let you fall in an instant at the worst of times.
The song unveils in its unrepentantly abrasive posture, and from the first scream there are few moments of respite. Arcing riffs are battered and lurking, projecting the fear of submission.
"Hospital" starts with a slow-moving introduction and verse which showcases Max's wide ranging vocals. Verses throughout are slow and the intensity explodes in the chorus growls.
The lyrics beg and hope the Doctor can fix it all.
"Doctor can you fix me. I feel so empty. Build me a heart that won't fall apart.
Still out in the cold. Build me a soul that won't lose control."
This track's opening instrumental and vocal melodies have a calming feel, but the song abruptly jumps to explosive power and heavy metal vocals that continue to creep in and out in of the more chilled mix. An early release favorite on the initial industry pulse, "World Signal", captures the fight to escape the controlling forces.
"World signal controlling us all. setting the stage for a final fall."
"No I won't leave you behind."
"Thin" is a slow burn of the agony brought from betrayal, and one that sears to the bone. The vocals shift from monstrous slow moving rugged vocals to the plea to get away from the stranglehold. The desperation and feeling of defeat of the lyrics in "Thin" captures the story of lost hope and despair.... "My friend I'd bleed for you. You always knew my love was true. I am lost in here, so far gone."
This track emphasizes the battle of betrayal and the music heightens to achieve the desperate struggle...."Can't run away."
The track shows the extreme differences between the subjects and how the betrayal keeps getting more real..."I am broken because of you." The energy falls and you feel the subject wearing thin from the hate within. There is a deep emotional catharsis unveiled which is felt in the line up of muscular riffs.
Maximilian is an indie singer-songwriter, heavy metal artist and multi-Instrumentalist from Haverhill, Massachusetts. He combines elements of rock, heavy rock and metal, and Latin music to deliver a collection of unique songs that capture the dramatic and extreme emotions. He has German (Frankfurt) roots on his father's side of the family, and Latin roots on his mother's side of the family. Musically, the artist connects to Demon Hunter, Avenged Sevenfold and Avatar.
Maximilian is an active performer, in his band 51st State and as a lead singer in the band Synco. He has performed at the Hampton Beach Seashell, Hard Rock Cafe, Loretta's Last Call, Faneuil Hall, Food Trucks of America events, and at many other local clubs.
Maximilian Wentz will be promoting his new album across social media platforms, PR and through live performances over the coming months. Collectively, Max's singles (including releases with related project 51st State) have amassed almost 600K in streams, have received dozens of reviews and have been placed on hundreds of playlists. MARE currently has total streams of 70K. In 2021, Wentz was nominated for a New England Music Award in the category "Top new artist".
Max has been busy finishing recording all the drums and guitars for his second album, which will also be a concept album. Unlike MARE this second album will be a concept album about Max's life, specifically focusing on his childhood years. The second album will continue with the melodic metal/hard rock sound established on MARE, but will feature stronger influences from Latin music, and genres such as thrash and death metal. Lyrically speaking, this second album will be the most emotionally intense work Max has produced. Similar to MARE, the second album will also have 10-tracks however, in addition to this album there will be a separate three-song EP released before it.
Singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Maximilian Wentz's vibrant deep-rooted originality and creativity crosses through many genres making strides in his own direction. Combining all his music passions together he covers chill vibe acoustic to heavy metal originals, that capture his broad spectrum of talents. His ever-evolving mix of music keeps surprising, and he exists in a space of constant creation that reflects passion, life's unexpected encounters, and hard driving emotions. The up-and-down rollercoaster style of his music is engaging, intriguing and obscure with a twist and turn style that is purely Maximilian Wentz.-Performers on the Go, LLC
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