Extreme Metal Fanzine est. 2012

Latest Updates

Filter by: band
[%] - [[0-9]] - [A] - [B] - [C] - [D] - [E] - [F] - [G] - [H] - [I] - [J] - [K] - [L] - [M] - [N] - [O] - [P] - [Q] - [R] - [S] - [T] - [U] - [V] - [W] - [X] - [Y] - [Z]
Filter by: label
[[0-9]] - [A] - [B] - [C] - [D] - [E] - [F] - [G] - [H] - [I] - [J] - [K] - [L] - [M] - [N] - [O] - [P] - [Q] - [R] - [S] - [T] - [U] - [V] - [W] - [X] - [Y] - [Z]
Filter by: style
[A] - [B] - [C] - [D] - [E] - [F] - [G] - [H] - [I] - [P] - [S] - [T] - [V]
Filter by: country
[A] - [B] - [C] - [D] - [E] - [F] - [G] - [I] - [L] - [M] - [N] - [P] - [R] - [S] - [T] - [U]
Filter by: vmu-author
[A] - [B] - [C] - [D] - [E] - [F] - [G] - [H] - [I] - [J] - [K] - [L] - [M] - [N] - [O] - [P] - [R] - [S] - [T] - [V] - [W] - [X] - [Y] - [Z]

Manii – Innerst i Mørket

manii – innerst i mørket


When Manes’ debut album ‘Under ein Blodraud Maane’ came out in 1999, most of the groundbreaking Norwegian Black Metal records of the second wave had already been released. Vocalist Sargatanas and multi-instrumentalist Cernunnus had taken their time since the band inception in 1991 to craft several demos which culminated in their masterpiece. Mixing essentially some of the best of Burzum, Limbonic Art, Emperor and Gehenna into an often crawling, bleak and haunting soundscape resulted in an epitome of Norwegian Black Metal and an album which deserves a legendary status. After its release, Manes continued to exist but Sargatanas departed and left music for a while, and Cernunnus went on to take the sound into completely different territories. Thus, for a long time, ‘Under ein Blodraud Maane’ was their Black Metal legacy. Until 2011, when the two reunited under the banner of Manii.

When the Manii debut album ‘Kollaps’ released in 2013 it passed me by mostly unnoticed. Instead, it was with the release of the 7”EP ‘Skuggeheimen’ in 2015, now in cooperation with Terratur Possessions, that my interest in the band was piqued. But it was their 2018 EP ‘Sinnets Irrganger’ that truly caught my attention. Much like the preceding full-length and 7” EP, it plunged the pitchblack and suffocating atmosphere into newer depths, further slowing down the pace and increasing the intensity. It was also their first release to feature a flesh-and-blood drummer, Bornyhake of Borgne and Pure to name a few. The crawling pace, entrancing strumming, ominous keyboards and piercing cries in for example opener ‘Da har de sænket mig ned i jord’ is not something you merely listen to, it’s a darkness that slowly consumes you. And we are set to take that journey deeper further into the abyss with the release of a new album bearing the title ‘Innerst i Mørket’, which now features V. Einride behind the drum kit, who is known not only for his work in Whoredom Rife, but also alongside Cernunnus is the majestic Syning.

To start with a conclusion of sorts: the new record is a seamless fit with the preceding material, with a familiar haunting and suffocating grimness to the music. But it’s not a mere follow-up, or just a new full-length. No, ‘Innerst i Mørket’ is far from a conventional album: it consists of a singular track with a duration of nearly 38 minutes. Not that it feels like that. It rather feels like an experience that just swallows you into a dimension where time does not seem to exist. Manii take their time to plunge you ‘Deep in the Dark’ (the English translation of the title), and while that rightfully implies a sense of repetitiveness, the dynamics in the songwriting is rather mindblowing. Each time an instrument introduces a sense of familiarity, such as a double bass section or entrancing repeated riff, another instrument will dynamically shift, creating an endless unrest and tension in the music that keeps you on the edge of your seat. While an abundance of bleak riffs, restless drums, eerie keyboards and an awe-inspiring vocal performance by Sargatanas combine to create Manii’s nightmarish vision, allow me to take you to a few moments in the song that chilled me to the core.

The alienating keyboard tones and raw guitar lay an early groundwork for distress, with the rumbling bass guitar acting prominently in the formula. The early minutes of ‘Innerst i Mørket’ are more restrained in pace, although the double bass drums create a sense of urgency. It’s here that the layered nature of the monumentous song starts to surface, with a sense of despair that typifies these opening moments. The minimal yet effective guitar solo that joins in at about 09:09 starkly antagonises the gloom, and not long after, only an extended ambient section with lamented wailing remains. Once the cries die out, the gritty riff and adventurous bass turn the the mood into a more sinister direction, enhanced by oncoming drums and rasped vocals until organs shift the direction to an almost elated and floating ritual. That is until 16:04, when Sargatanas’ scream pierces flesh and bone to call forth absolute darkness. The bleak and monotonous riff, menacing double bass drums and blossoming guitars add layer upon layer, twist and turn until nothing and everything seems familiar at once. Then, a rhythmic shift and growing guitar melody come to a sudden halt, and only the organs continue to echo the eerie tones. As an occasional drum stroke and the quickening pace of the bass build back the tension, this is inevitably pierced through by a razor-sharp riff at 21:45 into the song. Backed up by rising cries, the song completely escalates within the same minute, shifting the rhythm and unleashing the drums in full force into an all-consuming mayhem. As the blackness of the past minutes is slowly traded for more atonal, contrarian melodies that threaten to rise, paces shift and crumble until silence once again relieves us. A misleading silence, as a second-long growl at 28:09 calls for the slowest and most suffocating movement of the track. Moving into a full tempo burst at 32 minutes into the song, the climax of the album’s ferocity is reached until one by one the instruments fade out and only ambience remains to call forth the end of this journey deep into the dark.

Let’s not beat around the bush: ‘Innerst i Mørket’ is not an album that can be summarized in a few highlights. It’s an intensely bleak journey into an ever-shifting darkness. Nothing remains the same, and it’s this sense of being plunged into the unknown that is truly captivating about the album. What is crystal clear however is that once again Sargatanas and Cernunnus have outdone themselves. Just as they did with ‘Under ein Blodraud Maane’ so long ago, it’s not even so much about what they did, but about how they did it. With ‘Innerst i Mørket’ Manii take elements from the darkest Black Metal depths of Trondheim and Norway into unprecedented territories. Phenomenal.


Related Articles

Terratur Possessions

Related Articles