MANES — Solve et Coagula (review)

MANES — Solve et Coagula album cover Boxset / Compilation · 2009 · Black Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
2/5 ·
"Solve et Coagula" is a compilation release by Norwegian black metal act Manes. The compilation was released through Kyrck Productions & Armour in 2009 and is limited to 1000 copies. I´ve been waiting for a new release by Manes since the release of their third full-length studio album "How The World Came to an End (2007)", even though I wasn´t completely satisfied with the direction the band took on that album. However I absolutely adore their second full-length studio album "Vilosophe (2003)", and was hoping for a return to the experimental rock/metal style, with lots of electronic elements, from that album. Once again though I´m taken by complete surprise by Manes as they seem to have gone back to their black metal roots on "Solve et Coagula". A very strange move since their last black metal release was their debut full-length studio album "Under ein Blodraud Maane" from 1999.

The compilation features six tracks distributed over a 44:50 minutes long playing time. The first track is the 15:21 minutes long title track (supposedly re- recorded material from 1994-95). It´s an experimental post black metal track and a very enjoyable and well composed one at that. It´s harsh yet melodic, symphonic but never overblown. If the rest of the tracks on "Solve et Coagula" were of this high standard too I would have struggled to give less that a 4 (80%) star rating but unfortunately that´s not the case. The remaining five tracks are a remixed version of the "Ned I Stillheten (1994)" Demo. The tracks from the demo are remixed in a slower speed by Cernunnus (the mainman behind Manes). Now as the original Demo was recorded on a broken 4-track recorder and featured one of the most noisy and obnoxious lo-fi sound productions I´ve yet laid ears to, I didn´t think it was likely that I would enjoy the same demo tape in a remixed version in slower speed. And I was absolutely right in that assumption. What a scam! I´m sorry to use such harsh words but this is simply not good enough. I find it unacceptable that a band of Manes caliber release something like this. Fortunately the title track saves this release from total disaster and it is only because of that song that I will give a 1.5 - 2 star (35%) rating. I can´t recommend a purchase though which is really too bad since the title track is of such high quality. I do hope they will leave their black metal past behind after this release and concentrate on a new full-length studio album. Hopefully in their more current experimental rock/metal style.
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