This is a very accomplished hour or so of doom metal, interleaved with elements of progressive rock, blues rock, and atmospheric metal. Continue reading
It seems that Code have undergone somewhat of a transformation since 2013’s Augur Nox; gone is the Avant-Garde Black Metal, instead being replaced with Progressive Post-Rock.
Their new incarnation is akin to a cross between Red Sparowes, Anathema, Autumnblaze, Green Carnation and Radiohead to my ears. It’s a change in style that seems to suit the band as it sounds like a natural fit.
The music is stripped back but expressive and emotive nonetheless. The relatively short songs contain a lot of content in a short space of time; one would almost expect music of this nature to be double the length but most of the tracks here are about 3-4 minutes in duration.
The vocals are similar in style to their past versions, albeit less extravagant and with greater fragility. His voice has an internal power to it though that again reminds of the singers of Anathema and Autumnblaze.
The songs seem to tell a story and pull the listener into their world. The soundscapes Code create are involving and forbidding; they’ve managed to create a sense of carnival-esque awe and wonder for the listener to explore through Post-Rock textures and Progressive Rock workouts.
I applaud the band for their willingness to update their sound, and although I will miss their past style they’ve amply proven to me with Mut that they continue to create rich and engaging music.
Following on from their last release Teeth, Toes and Other Trinkets, which was an anthology, this is the first new Manes album in seven years.
Manes play a beguiling blend of artistic Rock, Darkwave Trip Hop, Avant Garde and 80’s-style Pop. It’s subtle, charming, disarming and insidious.
These songs have a laid back quality to them that’s almost detached from the actual music; as if something has been created by the music that hovers just out of view yet its effects can be felt by a lasting aura of deceptive comfort and false familiarity. This lends the songs a certain flavour of the otherworldly and the different.
There is a low-key catchiness to the tracks as well. Again, it’s a subtle affair, as even though the songs obviously contain hooks the first time you listen to them, it takes multiple listens for them to fully work their magic. Such is the nature of all great albums that have true longevity and depth.
There is so much to experience here. Manes create across a vast canvas using a rich palette of colours. There’s a lot that’s easily missed on first glance and only after taking it in for a good amount of time can you really appreciate what they have done here.
The singer’s captivating vocals are on strong form and the bleak-yet-uplifting-yet-not melodies that he uses complement the instruments perfectly adding layers of emotion to already emotive and layered songs.
This is music for dark nights and even darker activities. This is music that drips with soul and is ethereal in nature.
Fans of bands such as Arcturus, Ulver, Lethe, Dødheimsgard, Green Carnation, In The Woods…, etc. will lap this up, and with good reason.
It’s time to enter the world of Manes.
Useful starting reference points for this band are Green Carnation, Katatonia, Anathema, etc. although they have enough individuality to exist on their own merits.
This release takes the listener on a journey through splendour and horror; through new life and decay; never knowing where it’s going to stop but knowing that the experience is more important than the destination. And We All Die (Laughing) do so love to provide a great experience. Whether the parts of the song are quiet and considered, or heavy and energetic, they have a firm grasp on the quintessential essence of what makes this kind of music so appealing to Progressive Metal fans – being transported to somewhere else.
There are subtleties and nuances in abundance in this release, as well as stand-out moments that instantly grab you and soul-searching melodies and harmonies aplenty.
A thoroughly ambitious debut release that largely succeeds in reaching its goals and sets itself up nicely to build on this epic effort in the future. As a collaborative effort between two artists in their own right, I can only hope they work together again on this project as there is more to be had here; more to be explored and the veil torn back to reveal more hidden wonders.
Listen intently and absorb completely.