Avantgarde Music, 2013
Genre: Atmospheric Black Metal
3. Likfugl Flaksar
4. Ei Sjæl som Sloknar
7. Ei Beingrind i Dans
8. Avgrunns Djuv
Does anyone remember when the band Manes was a two piece and used to play this disturbing Thorns inspired style of Black Metal? No, probably because that band has turned into some modern rock piece of nonsense. Rather than change the name of Manes once they decided not to play Black Metal they just kept the name, which was a really stupid move, resulting in a lot of bad reviews for "Vilosophe". Instead, some fourteen years later the original duo of Manes seem to have rekindled their desire for Black Metal and released an album under the new name Manii.
Who would have thought that "Kollaps" would enter the scene on the waves of some very relevant Atmospheric Black Metal. This is unusual, because I don't hear a lot of relevant Black Metal coming out of Norway these days. Perhaps I am not paying much attention there, but Manii is in rare form. If this kind of release was in Cernnunus' blood, he could have been at the forefront of the Atmospheric revolution in Black Metal. Instead, I herald his return with this incredibly beautiful experience. It's largely dark and melancholic in atmosphere. It is certainly not a fast release and it feels similar to Sun of the Blind at times in some of its elements and approach. "Endelaust" has piano sections that make me think of things I would expect to hear on a Dødheimsgard release, but it really works amidst the harsh guitar. I think I also hear a lot of Vindsval's "The Eye" in this with the kind of texturing we get. The chords and lead guitar work a very reminiscent of what we heard with Mortuus, so if you'd like to hear their sound recast into a much more atmospheric approach then "Kollaps" will blow you away. There is, of course, the ever present Thorns atmosphere and "Avgrunns Djuv" feels like a slower, moodier take on elements of the self-titled Thorns album, especially with that piano line wending its way behind the guitar.
I truly hope this release is not lost in the mire of Black Metal released this year. It is a shining gem amidst many mediocre and bad albums. However, the new name may elude people, especially the ever present trend of short memories I feel is plaguing the scene today. Still, Manii is a return to the days of Black Metal that we have been wanting from these musicians. It makes me wonder if Manes had stuck with Black Metal if they would have trended this way eventually... maybe stepping away from the genre is what it really took to create something like "Kollaps" and for that I can hardly fault them. I really hope Manii continues to inject its atmosphere into the genre more often and stays active for years to come