Manii - _Kollaps_
(Avantgarde Music, 2012)
by: Johnathan A. Carbon (7.5 out of 10)
I wrote this review because of a contest, a bet, a dare to see if I could pick an album at random and review it. When one leaves their fate in the hands of metal albums, the roulette always lands on the space of excitement. It could be drone, thrash, power, or progressive. In the arena of chance though, there exists one certainty -- albums from Avantgarde Music are rarely uninteresting.

If you were ever wondering, there is always an obscure band you know almost nothing about that made music when you were not looking. Enter Manes, a Norwegian black metal collective who released three albums to the acclaim of 17 people before dissolving last year. To those of you shaking your head in acknowledgment, stop it; you know nothing of what I am talking about, stop pretending. Manii is the continuation of Manes under a new name and direction of the two founding members Cernnus and Sargatanas. If you are confused and possibly holding the text book upsidedown in front of your face, do not worry, because the enjoyment of Manii is not rooted in the complicated history of an obscure black metal act. Thank the Lord.

Manii is almost certainly directed in the style of depressive black metal. The guitars echo and shimmer like cold rainfall through the structural remains of what was once hope and happiness. The shrieking vocals of Sargantas are exquisite if nothing else for the fact it fits so well. While the mood is undoubtedly despondent, the momentum of _Kollaps_ is exhilarating. Who knew you could coast at 30 miles per hour while crying? I know nothing of what the band is saying yet the emotional reach of the music transcends lingual borders. Manii allows cascading despair to flood the listener's space providing one of the more interesting musical experiences this year.

For those already interested in the works of I Shalt Become and the hilariously named Lifelover, Manii may already be an obvious choice. For those interested in black metal but wary about the depressive variety, Manii maybe an interesting conduit as the production is raw but nowhere near oppressive. _Kollaps_ strikes the delicate balance between visceral emotion and accessible presentation. Who knew it was actually coming out?

I feel my gamble through the underworld of metal was a positive adventure. I received no knife wounds and my wallet remains on person. things could have ended much worse. My experience with Manii has been for the better and I thank the six fates of extreme metal for their wisdom.

(article published 9/16/2012)


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