MANIMALISM - Manimalism

Manimalism - Manimalism

7 songs
39:05 minutes
***** ***


Sometimes late is better than never. Founded in the early Nineties, Taarenes Vaar were among the only bands courageous enough to transcend the black metal genre into something so far unprecedented. The Norwegians alas only released two demo tapes in the mid-Nineties, and it was up to their countrymen from Ved Buens Ende and Fleurety to herald the age of post black metal. Other Norwegian bands that started out in the black metal genre soon followed in their footsteps, and that with even more success than the pioneers, as I guess that names like Ulver and In The Woods should be familiar to a wider audience.

So back into the present: Kim Sølve, formerly in charge of nearly everything in Taarenes Vaar, and currently graphic designer and member of extreme electro band Blitzkrieg Baby, has decided to give it another start, and changed the name to Manimalism, which should sound more modern and therefore attractive. Two other members of Manimalism have ties to Virus, who once again arose out of the ashes of Ved Buens Ende, and there the circle is closing once again.

Although this self-titled album has been recorded throughout the new millennium, all of the songs have been written in the Nineties by much younger people. In fact most of the tracks are reworkings of the demo material, and in some ways it shows. The songwriting is on the one hand very direct and something maybe even a little self-conscious, but the decades of experience accumulated by the musicians help them to achieve a certain ironic distance, so that in the end you can claim that post black metal has never sounded more tongue-in-cheek. The song titles tell stories about dandies, tuxedos, cocktail parties, catering services, crooners, romance and gentlemen, all of them topics that couldn’t be any less black metal. The music fits the mood, and although it would be unfair to call Virus an influence (I mean, the guys started at the same time), it still makes sense hearing all of these pioneers playing together on this album. The guitar is distorted but actually more in a psychedelic than in a metal way. The bass guitar, which used to be next to absent in classic black metal productions, is very dominant in this case. On The Dandified And The Devilish, the bass guitar is even humorously climbing and descending musical scales, and all of a sudden a musical exercise becomes rhythmic backbone. The vocals are clear throughout the album, mostly in a higher register, doing their very best to conjure a strange and unique atmosphere.

As I said before, teenage clumsiness occasionally occurs, especially during the songs’ choruses which without an exception repeat the song title as their leitmotif, which after some time feels a little too much in-your-face, but apart from that, Kim Sølve and his new band of musicians have shown that these songs really deserved another chance. And while some of the more conservatively minded metal fans might be clueless in front of the avant-garde genius of Manimalism, the more progressive inclined crowd will certainly like these forty minutes of music that despite their age never sound dates.

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