Deadly Carnage - _Manthe_
(ATMF / De Tenebrarum Principio, 2014)
by: Chaim Drishner (8 out of 10)
You would not immediately recognize Deadly Carnage as the band behind this magnificent album after having listened to _Manthe_; it's by no means the same beast who recorded _Sentiero II - Ceneri_ back in 2011. Even though the recording line-up is the same, you'd find it hard to stomach the shift from the band's older, more traditionally aggressive style to this much mellower, multifaceted and emotional effort. _Manthe_ is altogether a different story than before, apparently more ear-friendly yet darker and emotionally heavier; a radiating black gem of beauty in the vicinity of which most of today's albums simply crumble in shame and inadequacy.

Gone are the black metal years of old, when Deadly Carnage offered a decent, semi-unique, if not exceptionally spectacular metal of black with an Italian twist and a slice of industrialization and darkness. Gone are the years when Deadly Carnage would have been considered yet another decent band out of an innumerable multitude of other projects creating across the same spectrum.

With _Manthe_, the band make a strong and loud statement and usurp the throne of excellence, placing themselves far and high above the meager metal norm, for this album is a delicacy to the sonic palate with its innumerable references and careful assembly, making each song unique and different, perfect in presentation and emotional emission.

_Manthe_ is a complex album in that it could be summed not by objective observation but by pure subjective, cognitive references the mind produces during the listening session, as it invokes a legion of bands from so many different metal schools and other styles, you cannot but rationalize its existence by randomly voicing a series of great musical entities that echo through the acerbic prism of _Manthe_.

The album is a strange blend between Katatonia's _Dance of December Souls_, Anathema's _The Silent Enigma_, EverEve's _Seasons_ and a plethora of other aesthetics ranging from Alastis' _The Other Side_ dark metal etiquette, through pure folk, a pinch of shoegaze rock and epic / Viking metal, to atmospheric black metal with an Italian twist.

The lyrical content of this wonderful album, if to quote Adres, the band's bass player, "talks about the corrupt relationship between man and the planet: the destruction of the planet, the decadence of modern occidental civilization; in addition, the lyrics speak of free individual thinking".

The album opens with a benign cabaret rock riff followed by whispering vocals, slowly developing into an Evoken-like distinctive bass-heavy introduction coupled with an enormous set of lungs spewing forth some heartfelt, hateful bellows that will linger throughout the album's length; an ominous, darkening shadow that swirls above the recording in pessimistic grandeur only to reveal shards of sunlight here and there in the momentary laid back, sun-drenched rock or folk-oriented passages scattered around, adequately embedded in the natural flow of the album. After the prologue, an angrier, updated version of _Dance of December Souls_ washes the sonic scenery as the track progresses; very melodic in essence, but at the same time also very raw and vitriolic.

Some epic sonic tales then take their place on the pedestal of beauty when the music's being taken over by an exquisite flute in the best of Zgard's tradition (the wonderful Ukrainian epic / folk / pagan metal one-man band), and that in turn dissolves into an atmospheric all-out black metal / dark metal attack on the senses, fronted by one hell of a vocalist whose diverse performance is second only to the vocals' potency as the conveyors of negativity.

There's a plodding doom metal inclination to some of the tracks, either their velocity, weight or light-less pessimism (or all three aforementioned qualities at once) allowing a sense of doom-esque gloom, and when all the helter skelter settles down a notch, giving way to lightweight, laid-back melodies, there's a _The Silent Enigma_ romantic vibe that sips into the fabric of the album, resonating with astral beauty, desolation and serenity, just like the cover art of that phenomenal Anathema album had suggested.

The above mentioned pessimism governing the album's better part has been charged with fucking gothic dreary; gothic as in insidious and malevolent; gothic as in a whisper in the darkness, a finger in the eye when you least expect that to happen; gothic as in the Moonspell straightforwardness of that very term or the sweet ceremonial perversion caught on EverEve's aforementioned _Seasons_; a sense that something is downright wrong with this world. An impending doom? A looming catastrophe? Perhaps. Perhaps both.

On _Manthe_ eclecticism reigns supreme, an unrelenting emotional and aesthetic roller coaster; everything is either very low (as in negativity, depression and animosity), or very high (as in catharsis, transcendence and fleeting optimism); each track is a standalone tale of hate and love and hate again, and the whole album is a full-fledged saga, paying the highest of homages to all the great names and albums mentioned in this review, yet still totally carrying a singular message that's unmistakably exclusive to Deadly Carnage.

_Manthe_ cannot be recommended enough to those who like the band's previous efforts and especially to those who don't, as this is a totally different approach to the band's creativity and inspiration, as was mentioned. This album is on par with the likes of Russian band Amber Tears' idiosyncratic wonder _Revelation of Renounced_, being on the same square, playing oddly the same folksy, sophisticated doom-oriented metal-driven-by-pure-feelings of sorts, that rings bells as familiar as your mother's voice but in the same breath sounds like nothing out there. In that regard, _Manthe_ is simply a multidimensional sublime album, if there ever was one.

Contact: http://www.atmf.net/

(article published 23/4/2014)


ALBUMS
1/15/2012 D Lake 7 Deadly Carnage - Sentiero II: Ceneri
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