[Reviewed by stark]
It’s their second full album after the reunion. Well, third if we’d count the “Teeth, Toes And Other Trinkets” collection of weird, previously unreleased stuff. Coming from a black metal scene, at some point they took this bold step into the unknown and abandoned the black metal attributes almost entirely for the sake of progressive and avantgarde direction. And today they’re one of the last ones standing, along with Ulver and a few others. Which is not a bad thing, because what was avantgarde and courageous in the early 2000s, doesn’t necessarily have to be like that today. Some of these projects’ last efforts were boring (In The Woods…), some even ridiculous (Arcturus). Although I have to admit that I truly miss Beyond Dawn, as “Reverie” and “Electric Sulking Machine” still are very important in my life.
As for Manes, recently I realized that the whole thing is not about crossing the borders or exploring new territories. Because such an approach often does not stand the test of time and you become remembered as the one who tried but failed. Or become completely forgotten. In Manes case though, I don’t really care about their status or how they will be remembered, as in my heart they will always remain as those who simply write perfectly haunting songs, which you want to hear over and over again. And whether they’re more original or less, is a secondary matter.
This is why they still have quite a huge fanbase, because admit – do you listen to them because you consider them as visionnaires or because they play fucking good songs? I loved “Slow Motion Death Sequence” since the very first listen. They polish their style constantly and I think this album is much more interesting than “Be All End All”. The flow is better, the melodies are more captivating and at the same time it is sort of more depressing. After all it is not a secret that sad songs are the best and this amalgam of trip hop and pop with delicate touches of gothic and metal, all this driven by those specific vocals standing between Ozzy, David Bowie and Axl Rose is simply something you want to dig.