Dead in the Manger – Cessation (Review)

Dead in the MangerThis is the début album from the mysterious collective that is Dead in the Manger.

Dead in the Manger play a curiously unusual mix of Depressive/Funeral Black Metal and Blackened Grindcore, as ably showcased on their début EP Transience.

On this latest release the band continue with their exploration down the path lass travelled, (never travelled?), that they started on Transience.

The juxtaposition of Depressive melody and harsh Blackened Grind is still not something that’s common and by all rights it shouldn’t work, but Dead in the Manger take a hitherto largely unexplored sub-genre that probably hardly anybody else is usually bothered with, let alone covets, and make it fully their own.

A harsh Black Metal ambience and general negatively-charged melodicism are created by the band only to then smash it into a mutated, bastard Grind template that results in songs combining both atmosphere and aggression.

It’s like someone has taken Shoegaze Black Metal and given it some real backbone.

So has their sound progressed from Transience at all? Yes; I’d say that the Black Metal component is more prevalent on Cessation, although that could also be due to the fact that they’ve learned to incorporate beauty and brutality at an even deeper level on this release. There’s also more mid-paced sections where the band demonstrate that not only can they create an evil atmosphere but they can maintain it.

In order to get something like this right you really need to know what you’re doing, and Dead in the Manger have proven that their first release wasn’t just some fluke. Cessation is even better.

A highly recommended listen. If you haven’t done so already you need to discover Dead in the Manger.

Oh, and the band logo and album cover? Fantastic.

Grimoire – L’Aorasie des Spectres Rêveurs (Review)

GrimoireGrimoire are from Canada and this EP is their second release. They play Black Metal.

Grimoire have an epic sound that consists of melodic grandeur, atmospheric keyboard highlights and frostbitten blasting.

This EP contains 4 songs totalling just under 25 minutes; 3 actual songs and an instrumental/ambient piece. It’s well-recorded and sounds like a labour of love for the band.

Vocals are primarily the standard rasps, performed well. Other styles occasionally appear for added variety.

Affecting leads and emotive riffs are the bedrock of Grimoire’s foundation and there’s a streak of Depressive/Funereal Black Metal in their sound due to this.

L’Aorasie des Spectres Rêveurs is full of celestial textures and enchanting melodies. This is haunting, powerfully atmospheric music when the band want it to be. And when they don’t? That’s when the icy blast beats and more aggressive guitars make appearances.

The songs here have an obscure, otherworldly quality to them, in keeping with the EP cover. Barren and cold yet magical and enthralling; the land of Grimoire is for hardy adventurers only.

My favourite parts are when the band slow down and the full grandeur of what they are capable of is unleashed like some grand and terrible funeral march, such as near the middle of Les Rumeurs des Astres.

A very enjoyable release.

Dead in the Manger – Transience (Review)

Dead in the MangerScreaming out of the US, Dead in the Manger are an unholy fusion of Black Metal and Grind.

This release is 18 minutes of pure depression and hatred in equal measure.

Unusually the band juxtapose Funeral/Depressive Black Metal against furious Blackened Grindcore. It works due to a skilful weaving together of the two usually disparate genres.

The slow misery of the haunting opening track gives way to the savage, focused Grind of the second. The third and fourth combine aspects of both styles in a way that’s a welcome breath of stinking air; savage Blackened Grind colliding with dirge-like riffs and miserably anger. The fifth is a haunting interlude of samples and dark atmosphere, while the final, (and longest), track is blistering and solemn; blastbeats rage over sorrowful chords.

And what of the vocals? Black Metal to the core. Like static being vomited up by a diseased corpse. Perfect.

Dead in the Manger are hopefully not transient, hopefully they will be with us for some time yet.