Manes-“Slow Motion Death Sequence”-review

“Swimming the same deep water as you is hard”

Manes-there is no other instance on Earth  that makes music like this.

Manes is one of the bands in metal today where you don’t know what kind of album they will make next. Each record they seem to top the last one, and craft something new and exciting. With a career spanning five albums, their musical output is vast and goes into different directions in terms of music and concepts. ”Vilosophe” is one of the biggest reasons I got into Manes, and started developing an interest and fascination for the band. Somehow they became one of the most important bands in my life.

The songs flow into each other like a cycling electric current, brilliantly composed. I’d have to say the album is more similar to post-rock, with its minimalist aura: many parts of this album have a steady, but faint background rhythm or constant noises, and the tones and melodies  keep changing slowly. The album has a contemplative and lonely feeling, like someone is in a huge post-apocalyptic city with isolated people. It reminds me a lot of old The Cure albums, filled with intense feelings expressed with few notes and tones. I also adore how this album is both beautiful and sorrowful at the same time, because even the roughest-sounding albums of Manes can be very sorrowful at times.

First song is “Endetidstegn” (“End of Time Signs”) and Ana Carolina Ojeda appear as guest musician. This time Manes takes a step back from things, playing with some more emotional lyrics and songwriting as well as taking more time building up an atmosphere This song is truly revealed in the vast slabs of synth-soaked, spectraly dense introspection beneath.

“Scion”, the second song of the album and the first-released single, has a distinctive dark, introspective atmosphere like I’ve never heard anywhere before, only hinted around on maybe  other Manes releases. This is probably the most straightforward song on the album. Something in this music “touches” some part inside of me. This new song is no exception. Almost nothing left of the metal roots they once had, but even when staring into the nihilistic void, Manes couldn’t stop writing exquisite, oddly introspective melodies.. In a way, Manes remind me so much of the same path that Ulver went, they are breaking ground and they are doing it in style.

”Chemical Heritage”, the third song, is less sober, having the guitars less loud and distorted and aiming for a warmer, more shimmering sound… Their post-rock and progressive rock influences definitely shine harder here and it results in an experience that is much longer than their previous attempts but feels just as engaging. However, there is a personal matter I have with this album.

“Therapism” starts with electronic rhythms then explodes in a highly psychedelic, groove, and meditative trance.

“Last Resort” is the slowest song and the most addictive. It has a sort of melancholy well hidden between the lines. It is somehow repetitive and powerful.

“Poison Enough for Everyone” and “Building the Ship of Theseus” the drumming here is probably the most coherent on the album, which sound like just a standard drumline as opposed to having that overall electronic feel to them.

There is something about Asgeir Hatlens  vocals that is shockingly loud yet beautiful and emotional at the same time. This is most evident on”Scion”, a track I feel they’ve yet to beat in terms of emotional strength.

“Night Vision” teases you with bright keyboards  then builds to crushing riffs complete with everything a metal band should have; powerful drums, heavy hitting and memorable riffs, and an outstanding vocals.

This album is both a great expression in emotion, songwriting, and lasting power. I have listened to Manes for a long while and they have yet to bore me. They blended many genres on this album, and some songs are more avant-garde rock and electronic than metal, but it’s almost impossible to define one specific genre on a song on this album. One thing I’ve learned about Manes is that they really like experimenting with multiple genres at the same time to express the feelings in their roughest form.

“Ater” is the last song of the album, it closes the musical journey in a melancholic, addictive and avant-garde key making you crave for more. The underlying technique create an album of holistic intention – no track here is a standalone; the sense is diminished if played individually. Unified though, they become something more than the sum of their component parts.If you know the band and what they’re all about by now, you know there’s only one thing you can ever expect next out of them: the unexpected.

The full-length artwork signed by Ashkan Honarvar also adds to the disturbing factor of the album, showing either mental torture or frailty.

“Slow Motion Death Sequence” is definitely one of Manes best and unquestionable artworks. It is also an album that stands alone and is truly unique in its own craft, a record for late nights when you desperately search the true meaning of self.

The album was released at Debemur Morti Production

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