Sunday, 6 April 2008

Apocalypse Now: MANES

Sometimes you have mp3's sitting within iTunes that somehow get a listen but remain overlooked. Usually these get the odd further play and are either deleted for better stuff or maybe get a stay of execution in case you fancy trying again for some reason in the future. On the odd special occasion, though, you'll have the volume up a bit louder and realise that you've been a fool in the intervening months of aural inactivity.........Norwegian outfit Manes is one such fortuitous reunion for me.

How the World Came to An End is a deep, brooding splicing of styles ranging from the more progressive end of metal, through trip-hop, industrial, and making stops at numerous other genre stations on its introspective journey to silicon hell. The result could so easily have been a disjointed, incoherent homage to their influences, yet it ends up as easily the most compelling record I completely overlooked last year. I'm pretty sure this would have broken my top 5 with little or no struggle, had I been sharp enough of ear to pick out the subtle beauty when released mid 2007.

Throughout the listen you might pick up traces of Nine Inch N
ails (and their accessible siblings, Stabbing Westward, with the lighter vocals), Portishead, Porcupine Tree, Katatonia, Massive Attack......the list of potential influences could just run and run. It all gels into a curiously dark, semi-apocalyptic atmosphere with brief glimpses of light to provide glorious sonic contrasts.

It's really a shame to pick out a single track, as the album is such a solid body of work that it should be experienced in its entirety. The track up here, Deeprooted, gives a decent idea of what's to come, though, with bleak, swirling electronica briefly giving way to redemptive guitar lines, boosted by soaring vocals, before falling back into digital oblivion. This just touches on the glory to follow, so I'd urge you to pick this up in whatever format your grubby little mitts prefer to snag music.

Manes - How the World Came To An End

Out on Candlelight Records - Buy buy


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