Today's review is brought to us by Erin Palmer, who you may know as the sole member of both raw black metal outfit Dread Maw and black metal/black n' roll entity Rage of Devils. This is Erin's second guest post here at the Village--a fact for which we are eternally grateful. Enjoy! - Ed.
Guest post written by: Erin Palmer
As I've mentioned before, my favorite bands are the ones that make music where I can't quite conceive of actual people creating it. The best metal, to me, is inhuman, music that seems like a force of nature rather than something played with instruments. Enter Febris Manea.
Febris Manea are a raw black metal band from the United States, originally based in California but now residing in Salt Lake City. The artist, known only as D.O., stated in an interview that the project was created to express feelings he couldn't otherwise “without serious social or legal repercussions,” and...yeah, that checks out.
This is not black metal for the uninitiated. This is the pure, uncut form of the genre. Their most recent release, Through Pale Opulence Thy Reign is Doomed, begins with an ominous, horror movie-style intro, and then immediately strikes the listener in the face with a howling, swirling wall of guitars and unhinged screams. Throughout the album, the soundscape D.O. creates with his music is so rough and nasty as to almost verge on harsh noise at points. Everything blends together in a riptide of deranged sound that constantly washes over you, threatening to pull you under.
But it never quite overwhelms you. There's exactly the right amount of musicality here to keep your attention. The guitars come through surprisingly clearly, and I found myself just sitting there, drinking them in. They are definitely the focal point of the project. The drums are mixed low, providing less of a beat and more of a low crunch that adds a little extra oomph to the sound. The vocals are a constant shriek, again there mostly to provide atmosphere. I can't even really hear the bass that well. Everything is there to support the torrent of darkness that D.O. conjures with his guitars.
There's not really anything super technical going on with the guitar work, but I absolutely do not want to call it simple. It is anything but. This album is innovative by sheer virtue of the evil that D.O. evokes. This is the music that will play when the world ends, as the sky turns red and the ground splits open, and Things come up from the deep places that humanity has long forgotten.
If I have one problem with this album, it's that no one song really sticks out to me. They all kind of blend together. But that's a very minor problem, and if it helps, think of the album as a single 28 minute long piece, and the seven tracks as its separate movements.
I've never heard anything quite like what Febris Manea are doing. They are my favorite new find of the past couple years. Definitely an AOTY contender for me.
Febris Manea - Through Pale Opulence Thy Reign is Doomed was released April 24th, 2021, and can be found on bandcamp here.
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We provide thoughtful reviews of music that is heavy, gloomy...and loud enough to wake us from slumber. Written by a highfalutin peasantry!