Mannen - New Degeneration, Vol. 1
Released off label 2022
This review was commissioned through Ko-fi. However, it bears no weight on the score or decision. All reviews are written from an unbiased standpoint.
As if a camera in a swift-paced beeline formation ran headfirst through a sprawling city of both decadence and decay did Mannen’s debut EP “New Degeneration, Vol. 1” crawl into my bones. With a sensory injection of pure ambiance and cinematic build-up, ‘Volition’ brought me into Mannen’s harsh world. As it continued into a downward spiral, I found myself staring at an industrial metal mixture of raw drums, bleeding guitars, and harder electronics. Like a prodigy of Mick Gordon himself, ripping and tearing through a soundtrack of obliteration. The song changes pace going from industrial metal, back to ambiance, and finally into a mixture of both in a symphonic sense.
A reworked version of Mannen’s ‘Exoplanet’ appears on their new EP and once again I was swept away by the opening ambiance. The tribalistic drumset kept me on edge, however, awaiting an explosion that I knew was going to happen sooner rather than later. As the crunchy guitars approached did the seams finally crack as Mannen dived right into his metal roots. My only complaint about ‘Exoplanet’ remains the same in my original review of the track; the higher pitched synth squeals that accompany the guitar riffs around the two-minute and ten-second mark are unnecessary and distracting.
My thoughts on ‘Respawn’ remain largely the same as in my first review of the double-single. So, I’ll repeat what I said then. 'Respawn' kicks in with a tribal beat, as if an army is preparing for war. The thick percussion slams brought me into that violent mood, and the build-up to the heavy guitars that reminisced a galloping horse was wonderful. This then transcends into a cinematic and brutal layer of cybernetic metal twists and further sci-fi synths.
‘Autonomous’ has the beat, bass, and pace to be the soundtrack for a level within an old-school FPS. Imagine just chugging along in the original Doom to this game, slaying demons and ripping and tearing and gouging and goring. To say the very least, it had me pumped from start to end without ever boring. The second to last song ‘Oblivion’ was a bit odd to me. I think Mannen was attempting to dive into drum’n’bass for a lot of it, but I mainly got the drum part without the bass. Without that secondary element I felt as if much the song was very barebones. The guest vocalist BVLVNCE does a fair job on the track, but their voice isn’t anything out of the ordinary from a multitude of other metal bands in the scene, switching from hard screams to clean and dragged-out vocals, sometimes battling between the two.
The last track on the album is a sort of goodbye song; it’s extremely chill and focuses more on rhythm than anything else. Chill ambient synths decorate the background while trickles of electronics and drum pads sweep the surface. There are moments where Mannen takes everything he’s delivered so far on “New Degeneration, Vol. 1” and basks in an adoring crescendo, but even those moments are chill.
If there’s any room for improvement with Mannen’s current production, it would be in the mixing process. I feel as if Mannen’s crunchy guitars can often offset the balance within his songs, be that on ‘Volition’ or even ‘Exoplanet’. The guitars can overtake the song, letting every other sound fade in the background. There’s a way to balance all sounds so they hold hands and skip together, not in a territorial fashion.
Either way, what Mannen has delivered is rather impressive and I look forward to seeing what he has in his tank for his next release. Seven out of ten.Aug 02 2022
I've been writing for Brutal Resonance since November of 2012 and now serve as the editor-in-chief. I love the dark electronic underground and usually have too much to listen to at once but I love it. I am also an editor at Aggressive Deprivation, a digital/physical magazine since March of 2016. I support the scene as much as I can from my humble laptop.
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