Chuck Schuldiner Project

Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Manes - Be All End All

After over five years of preparation, the Metal veterans from Manes return from their second hiatus with the release of the great atmospheric Be All End All. Following the line of the Norwegian group's two previous works, How The World Came To An End, and Vilosophe, this album focuses on creating dense auras with highly reverbed instrumentation, seemingly disjointed twitchy artificial noises, and hypnotic loops.

Even though there are no highly distorted instruments and aggressive drumming, this album still manages to sound strangely heavy. Tension builds as the echoes of the guitars clash with each other in the background. The vocals transit from radio-like to moans to distant calls, always in the most distressing manner possible. Meanwhile, the drums and twitchy noises (I really cannot find a better term to describe them) remain in the background, to emerge as dramatizing agents when necessary.

There is a divide going on about half way through the album, starting with track 6, Free As In Free To Leave. Suddenly, the focus of the songs shifts from mostly acoustic loops and electronic sounds to more traditional riff-based pieces. These  latter pieces feature prominent distorted guitars, dramatic vocals, and marked drumming, similarly to Paradise Lost's Symbol Of Life. Such changes may result from combining pre and post-hiatus pieces into the same album.

Be All End All is a great addition to the stream of atmospheric stuff I have been reviewing lately. It is not only a refinement of Manes' musical experiments, but also a possible indicator of the group's shift towards a more Gothic sonority.

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