TRANSCENDING BIZARRE? - The Serpent’s Manifolds

Transcending Bizarre? - The Serpent’s Manifolds

10 songs
46:59 minutes
***** *****


Since bands like Dimmu Borgir and Cradle Of Filth have transformed black metal into a music to sell t-shirts to, it’s become harder and harder to find any such bands with a little redeeming value. I didn’t expect too much from Transcending Bizarre?, as the cover artwork made it look like just another extreme metal album, but once I read that their guitarist also plays with Thanasis Lightbridge in Dol Ammad, an overblown yet interesting operatic power metal band, I was becoming intrigued.

Five years after their debut, the Greeks are back with an extremely ambitious follow-up, The Serpent’s Manifolds, which on the surface is epic melodic black metal, but then their ties to Dol Ammad have left their traces (or vice versa, who knows?), because Transcending Bizarre? are anything but mere copycats. Helped by guest vocalists, flutists and violinist, the band integrates the classical components seamlessly into their overall sound. At times they are able to switch back to rude primeval black metal sounds, but more often they flirt with grand composing schemes, as on the title track, the demonic Cell or their magnum opus Infinite, whose nine minutes are a worthy conclusion to this moving black metal suite.

Transcending Bizarre? never rely on kitsch, instead they augment their basically quite crushing black metal with darkly dramatic parts provided by the classical instruments. Where most other genre bands sound like wimped out carnival freaks, these guys have found a way to breathe new life into a genre which has been rendered too stale by many of their contemporaries.

A look at their homepage reveals that they are Pastafarians worshipping the Flying Spaghetti Monster, and a link to Richard Dawkins’ homepage should make clear that we are in the presence of passionate rationalists and atheists who use the demonic imagery only as an aesthetic means to an end… making me only wonder why they also link to the Church of Satan’s homepage, as these guys are less occult but rather obscurantist political fanatics. Anyway, what remains is probably the best epic black metal album of the year so far, which is hereby rewarded with a rare maximum rating.

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