Release date: 24th August 2018 || Genre: Experimental/metal/rock || Label: Debemur Morti Productions
Norwegian outfit Manes have been on the go for a surprisingly long time. Formed in 1993, they were originally a black metal, two man project, releasing through some fairly recognised labels; Hammerheart and Candlelight. After a couple of years, they switched things up massively, delving deep into electronic, experimental sounds. This change of direction has now stuck for over twenty years.
Slow Motion Death Sequence is very reminiscent of turn-of-the century experimentation from other metal associated artists. Neurosis’ A Sun That Never Sets and Ulver’s Shadows Of The Sun cast their presence, as do the mid-era digital efforts of Paradise Lost. They actually seem to have built a better relationship with machine music than the latter, though. There’s some tapping of the ‘808 culture’ which formed the crossover between 80s synth pop and 90s industrial metal. This edge to the sound does leave me hankering a little for more ‘chorus-y’ choruses. They would, in my opinion, make a delicious addition to the bleak landscape through which much of this release travels.
However, instrumentation decisions seem to be of the highest importance to the creators here. The main vocals at times hark back to classic metal singers, in particular Ozzy, and at others have more of the emotion of Mastodon, and, I think, a nod to the likes of Mr Reznor. Guest appearances by Ana Carolina Ojeda (Mourning Sun) and Anna Murphy (Cellar Darling), add another element, searing, fatalistic through the ether. The guitars stick throughout with an atmospheric black metal tone, and digital presence is effective, rather than overpowering.
With a soundscape approach applied to well-crafted musical pieces, Slow Motion Death Sequence couldn’t be a more fitting title. This album sounds like exactly what it says on the tin. A great record to escape to.