-The Perfect Storm?
Some day you’re 16 and listening to some overrated insignificant metal band, the next you’re in your 40s and reviewing something that totally changed the perception of music for you. Bands change and sounds evolve. These are the most inescapable platitudes in music regardless of genre.
It’s funny how time works. These times should teach us about self-awareness and introspection. These times remind us about the things we lost and the things we become over time. And what better soundtrack to deepen the introspection that this one?
The last time I reviewed Manes was back in 2018 when they released “Slow Motion Death Sequence”, a somewhat avant-garde, art metal act endeavouring to mix electronic and jazz elements into an innovative sound. That made an interesting spin at the time and made me think that they might continue to progress in interesting ways.
There are few bands that cause me to sink in gloom and introspection as Manes does. What’s crazy about it is, I really love it. There are moments when, with almost all their releases waiting in the queue, I sink deep into the night with their emotion-filled albums of afflicting ambient, elaborate metal riffage, and contemplative lyrical content.
For me, Manes represents Suprematism as art movement in music.“The principal element of Suprematism in painting, as in architecture, is its liberation from all social or materialist tendencies. Through Suprematism, art comes into its pure and unpolluted form” as Malevich stated.
This music is like an indie film that captivates you. You promise you’ll never watch that movie again, but before you know it, you’re finishing it for the second time in one night.
Just as Andrei Tarkovsky had the ability to create “images in such a way that they mean nothing beyond themselves”, Manes music speaks for the soul.
I think that the two songs of this release are close in sound and approach with the past works, yet offers us more due to the eloquence and consistency found here.
“Mouth of the Volcano” is like a drawing of a landscape. As your eyes focus on what’s closest to you, the objects in the distance create a breathtaking depth. The song revolves around an intrigued voice that tells its story. Then takes a massive turn when a hauntingly beautiful chorus (the voices of Anna Murphy and Ana Carolina Skaret) add dramatic alchemy.
The Golden Ratio hidden in “Young Skeleton” points us to the obscure link between the brittleness of life and the deep abyss of our being. It reminds me of who we really are and the power hidden in our being. In the soft notes of this song, we encounter real complexity. It makes one think it was a kind of stream of consciousness, a dream writing.
Art takes many forms and has multiple intentions. Sometimes art is meant to shock or provoke. Not all art is created with peace or beauty as a goal. And here we encounter paradoxical and contradictory data that help us organize the chaos into quantifiable, understandable bits.
The cover, ‘Laksefiskerens siste sommer II‘, is the work of the Norwegian artist Kjell Erik Killi Olsen and, I see it as a reminder to take the chance, every once in a while, to look up, look out and consider what else there is beyond.
In this hectic world, music remains one of the few instinctive and subtle ways for one to reconnect to self.
This is by no means a casual listen and, with little more than eight minutes (this being the only downside of this release) of introspective content, it can be utterly exhausting. But that’s how I like my music and I wouldn’t want it any other way.
With all that said, Manes came back with an innovative release while simultaneously adding new influences and remaining iconic. It’s hard to stay relevant with over 20 years and five albums released, but Manes continue their journey to redefine and reinvent themselves over and over again, and, as they said: “Let’s go darker.“
You can find an interview with Torstein Parelius about this new release HERE.
Google Play: https://bit.ly/2XHx99d
YouTube: https://youtu.be/xu83nkxE_jo (official video)
Amazon (.com): https://amzn.to/2VA4Kz5
Amazon (Germany): https://amzn.to/3bbP5N7
Amazon (France): https://amzn.to/2z9tkiX
Amazon (Japan): https://amzn.to/2xsyIgJ