MANES — Be All End All (review)

MANES — Be All End All album cover Album · 2014 · Non-Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3.5/5 ·
UMUR
"Be All End All" is the 4th full-length studio album by Norwegian experimental rock act Manes. The album was released through Debemur Morti Productions in October 2014. It´s been quite a few years since the release of "How the World Came to an End (2007)", but there have been signs of life in the intermediate years in the form of the "Solve et Coagula (2009)" and the "Teeth, Toes and Other Trinkets (2014)" compilation albums. Tor-Helge Skei, who is the mainman behind Manes, has been quite busy though as he released albums with both his depressive black metal project Manii in 2013, and with his experimental dark rock project Lethe in 2014. The "Vntrve" EP, which was released in August 2014 and features "A Deathpact Most Imminent" and "Broken Fire" (in an alternate version), which are both tracks that are also featured on "Be All End All", was however the first sign that a new full-length studio album by Manes was on it´s way.

The two tracks on the "Vntrve" EP more or less represent the sound on "Be All End All". Stylistically the music is a dark, electronic oriented type of rock, that at times is similar sounding to some of Ulver´s post black metal-era releases. There weren´t many metal elements left on "How the World Came to an End (2007)", and that tendency continues on "Be All End All", which features very few heavy moments with distorted guitars. It´s to great effect when the metallic tinged guitars appear though, as the rest of the music is predominantly more subdued and melancholic in sound. Besides the few more rock/metal oriented moments on the album (which are indeed very few), the music is mostly atmospheric and pretty laid back experimental rock with a slight avant garde edge (featuring apocalyptic themes, alien sci-fi atmospheres, keyboards, and electronic effects in addition to regular rock instrumentation of guitars, bass, drums, and vocals).

The material are generally well composed and it´s overall a pleasant melancholic sounding album with some clever compositional depth. The sound production is detailed and professional sounding, and "Be All End All" is on most parameters a quality release by Manes. I wouldn´t call it groundbreaking and sometimes the similarities to Ulver´s music is a bit too apparent, but a 3.5 star (70%) is still well deserved.
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