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Manes - Slow Motion Death Sequence (2018) - Review

Band: Manes
Album title: Slow Motion Death Sequence
Release date: 24 August 2018
Label: Debemur Morti Productions

01. Endetidstegn
02. Scion
03. Chemical Heritage
04. Therapism
05. Last Resort
06. Poison Enough For Everyone
07. Building The Ship Of Theseus
08. Night Vision
09. Ater

The legendary Norwegians Manes are back with a new album and what an album this is! Those of you who know a thing or two about this band must know that Manes started back in 1993 as a black metal band, and after some demo tapes they released their debut album Under Ein Blodraud Maane in 1999, but many changes followed and with a new line-up in 2002 they went on to explore new musical grounds. Their artistical path is in a way pretty similar to the one of their country mates Ulver, and those of you who liked Ulver's latest album should absolutely check out the new offering from Manes, even though if it's quite different soundwise, but still...

Slow Motion Death Sequence is a masterpiece from every possible point of view, it unites many different styles into one highly addictive and soul consuming eclectic set containing the strongest and most persuasive songs of their 25 year long career. Although of experimenting with many styles, from electronic, progressive rock, trip-hop, avant-garde, dark pop, metal, ambient, even dark jazz and more, the band managed to make one hell of a deep and coherent album that slowly but persistently attacks listeners senses from all possible angles. Slow Motion Death Sequence is without any doubt the most fully realised manifestation of the inimitable vision they first unveiled on 2003’s album Vilosophe.

Guitaris/keyboardist Tor-Helge Skei, guitarist Eivind Fjøseide, bassist Torstein Parelius, drummer Rune Hoemsnes and vocalist Asgeir Hatlen, with some help by Tom Engelsøy, Rune Folgerø and Tor Arne Helgesen, and guesting female vocalists Ana Carolina Ojeda (Mourning Sun) and Anna Murphy (ex-Eluveitie) set sails on a journey where only space is the limit. In the beginning I had some difficulties to swallow down the strange Asgeir's melancholic high pitched rather raspy vocals that are in a way some kind of a hybrid between Peter Gabriel, Billy Corgan, Trent Reznor and early David Bowie, but soon his voice got under my skin and the fun began.

These 45 minutes of a playing time are so higly emotional and dynamic, yet the songs are throughout atmospheric and full of variations. Already the opener and the first revealed single "Endetidstegn" with its trippy melancholic vibe and stunning sensual but strong female vocals that captivates at the very first listen, shows that this band  with a meticulous care blends together trip-hop, atmospheric electronics and heavier riffs into one perfectly crafted sonic amalgam. The melancholic "Scion" gets even further in provoking our senses with its waving subtle melodies. There are a lot of addictive pop melodies present, but the fact is that this music is not for those who like some easy listening tunes, just listen how Manes managed to go from the minimalistic noir tones to an extravagant heaviness in one single song named "Chemical Heritage" and you'll understand what I mean.

Constantly we get served with great guitar riffs and hazy leads that are in perfect harmony with a strong when needed rhythic line and vast use of electronics. There's also some dark psychedelia on the menu, for example in "Therapism" or in jazzy "Poison Enough For Everyone", acoustic passages in the beautifully building up rather depressive "Last Resort", which in the last part reminds so very much to what The Gathering were doing on How To Measure A Planet?, another perfect example how to combine trip-hop and metal, there's as well some heavier stuff like the song "Building The Ship Of Theseus", prog and post-rock elements are also present here and there, but best evident in the rather cinematic "Night Vision". Actually every single song comes with something different, but yet there's a trajectory line that unites all of them together into a sinister hallucinatory unit called Slow Motion Death Sequence.

Manes did an album with magnetic songs that shine because of their evocativeness. It's an addictive piece of art with a lot of experimentations that will drag the listener into the shadowy world filled with melancholia. Slow Motion Death Sequence is truly a record for late nights, when the small hours draw addictive fascination from seemingly outlandish soundworlds. It's also an album for all those who like bands and artists like are the latest Ulver, The Gathering, In The Woods..., The 3rd And The Mortal, David Bowie, latest Anathema, Peter Gabriel, Massive Attack, Portishead, Hearts Of Black Science, Nine Inch Nails, How To Destroy Angels, yet many others could be written here, but just as a reference, because Manes did an unique piece of dark sonic art that comes in waves and these waves will haunt you for a long time.

Review written by: T.V.
Rating: 9/10