Slow Motion Death Sequence is a concoction of contemporary metal, the early trip hop scene, and other innovators such as Ulver.
Music lives off experimentation and progression. Only experimentation can bring about the dawn of new genres and trends, because every art form lives off innovation and vision. Sadly, not every artist or visionary gets recognized as such, and sometimes the founder of a genre isn’t its most popular artist. Manes have found a way around this problem by just not caring about genres at all and creating a niche for themselves, a niche so obscure no one else could rival them. Slow Motion Death Sequence is a concoction of contemporary metal, the early trip-hop scene, and other innovators such as Ulver.
First track “Endetidstegn” is already full of rich composition. Static noise convulsing in an arrhythmic motion forms the intro, a bass line quickly searching its company. Of course, the vocals don’t wait around and chime in after only a few bass notes. They’re melancholic and mellow, but with a Deftones-ian flair. Organ-esque drones join in, as well as echo drops – it’s clear that the intention here is to build texture and flavor. Lastly, a distorted guitar is added to bring a binding and grounded element to the increasingly out-of-control synths. Another welcome change are the female vocals, which sound more refined than the male vocals and have a clearer tone. After they fade, the bass, drums, and guitar hold up the track while the synths rage underneath them like a hornets’ nest under a glass plate. The synths fade away before the instrumental shifts into more mellow territory, ringing out with a little solo and soft drumming.
The next song, “Scion”, goes a different route. Raspy, even squeally vocals, reminiscent of Danny Brown, sing a depressing tune over an archetypical trip-hop beat. Here, the guitar almost sneaks in, barely noticeable at first between the synths, but slowly emerging with tremolo picking and roaring palm mutes, giving the trip-hop framework a psychedelic black metal undertone.
While the first track was rather flashy, “Scion” came up trumps with its subtlety and nuance. This is the genius of Manes, making use of many strengths and showing off facets you would not expect to make up for the few weaknesses, like the drum programming.
The experimentation presented here is not pretentious, and neither is it weird for the sake of weirdness. It is a strange yet tasteful journey through soundscapes as curious as they get, without as much as one element feeling misplaced or arbitrary; rather, everything is organic and grounded in one artistic vision. You can imagine it like a ‘color by numbers book’, but the artist chose to connect the dots while skipping through some pages. The production is well-made, albeit not outstanding. I know a lot of people won‘t listen to this or even care, and frankly, this isn’t meant to appeal to a broad mass. It’s the mandala of a very unique mind, and that is enough for me to cherish Slow Motion Death Scene by Manes.