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Manimalism - Manimalism Award winner

by Johnny Quid (J£) at 10 November 2014, 11:24 AM

Never have I needed to emphasize the importance of thoroughly listening to a band's album before judging them more than I do right now.  Kim Sølve, Norwegian mastermind behind the bizarre, avant-garde sound of MANIMALISM has, up until recently, been a ghost in the music world, but after a hiatus of over 21 years, Sølve has released a truly confounding yet strikingly coherent and listenable debut album. You just have to stay for the entire ride.

The self-titled offering from MANIMALISM is basically a retrospective of songs written between 1993 and 1999, and you'll hear that dated sound in many of the tracks, like the opening track “Demons in Tuxedos”Sølve's voice is a strange mix of operatic crooning and dark carnival creepiness, and reminds me a lot of Devin Townsend.  The entire 7 tracks is a walk through a freak show carnival, and the more you listen to it, the more it works.  It makes me wonder how this band would have been received had they released it during the time that the songs were actually written.  No doubt it would have been revered and compared to similar art-metal albums by bands like MR. BUNGLE or even QUEENS OF THE STONE AGE.

Tracks like “The Gentleman Is In The Details” are as psychedelic and swirling as you might expect, and it might just make you want to go listen to some FRANK ZAPPA while you bake brownies for no particular reason at all (wink wink, nudge nudge, say no more).  Granted, some of us weren't old enough to remember when this kind of sound was popular and it will seem very all-over-the-place.  This is why it requires multiple play throughs to truly get to where it's trying to take you.  As weird and unforgiving as the album is sometimes, it's also fantastic, subliminal, and yes even heavy, but in a non-conventional way.  Despite the songs all being written decades ago, the recording captures that time period while not sounding overproduced.  Translating that sound in a recording fit for today's standards is NOT an easy task at all, but MANIMALISM captures that beast, tames it, and makes it perform on stage with ease and precision, leaving the listener in wonderment.

MANIMALISM's debut shows up rather late to the party, but still demands attention from everyone, sweeping through with the chaos, oddity, and metal power that I would almost prefer to hear on vinyl.  Keep your hands and feet inside the car at all times, and enjoy the ride.

4 Star Rating

1. Demons in Tuxedos
2. Carnal Catering Service
3. The Gentleman Is In The Details
4. Romance
5. The Dandified and the Devilish
6. The Crooner
7. The Cocktail Party To End Them All
Kim Sølve – Guitars, Vocals
Record Label: Adversum


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