Manes – Be All End All

It seems that the members of Manes have forgotten to take their medication and have released their first album of new material since 2007’s How the World Came to an End. In fact, Be All End All was in production in 2008, but the band instead went into hiatus. Finally, in 2013, the band got back together and decided to finish up this album. Be All End All continues to see Manes explore their psychotic brand of experimental music that features trip-hop, electronics, glimmers of metal, along with various other genres. Overall, the album feels more subdued than its predecessors and not as eccentric, yet the disturbing undertones are definitely still there. The album also feels more cohesive as a result. A Deathpact Most Imminent opens the album with its strong trip-hop influences. Deeper vocals are more prominent on this release, as this song portends. Electronics, guitars, and drums also carry the rest of the song. Ars Moriendi (The Lower Crown) continues with the trip-hop vibe, as well as the psychotic feel that is augmented by the variety of vocal styles. A Safe Place in the Unsafe strengthens the psychotic feel of the album as wailing vocals are juxtaposed with high-pitched, almost-rapped vocals. Blanket of Ashes has a darker and more ominous tone as a “brave leader” is beckoned to “lead you to my grave.” Broken Fire is a slower and atmospheric track, and one of my favorites, as you are asked to “see the soul shatter” repeatedly. The Nature and Function of Sacrifice is very much the same way. Name the Serpent, on the other hand, is the most rocking track on the album with plenty of rhythmic guitar and prominent drum work. Be All End All closes out with Turn the Streams, which is a more up-tempo track with prominent guitar and drums–even some saxophone. Be All End All is a solid album from Manes and a welcome return for them. However, this album feels more constrained than the last few and does not seem to explore as diverse a sonic territory, yet all of the trademarks of the post-black metal (as in after they stopped doing black metal) Manes is still there—the experimental and varied music with disturbing and psychotic undertones. Manes fans will have to check this album out, as well as those who want something that just does not feel right.

Genre: Experimental, Trip Hop
Country: Norway
Label: Debemur Morti Productions
Release: October 10, 2014

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1 – A Deathpact Most Imminent
2 – Ars Moriendi (The Lower Crown)
3 – A Safe Place in the Unsafe
4 – Blanket of Ashes
5 – Broken Fire
6 – Free as in Free to Leave
7 – Name the Serpent
8 – The Nature and Function of Sacrifice
9 – Turn the Streams

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