Slow Motion Death Sequence By Torstein Parelius
Manes was formed in Trondheim, Norway, in 1992. Their music has gone through many stages of transformation up until today, but an urge to experiment grew from early on. Their music is hard to define by genres, but might be described as a bastardization of rock, metal and electronica with many other influences thrown into the blend. The earliest demo releases, as well as the debut album “Under ein blodraud maane”, belonged to a more slow and bleak black metal landscape.
Feeling sick of the traditional band-concept and the protocols of the metal business, in particular, Manes was put on ice after the debut release but was re-animated around 2000 as something resembling a borderless playground for its members, which all had other bands to fulfil their more traditional band ambitions. The members of Manes has been, or is, a part of bands like Atrox, The Third and The Mortal, Lethe, Drontheim, Chton, Calmcorder and more. Manes has chosen to first and foremost focus on studio work and the creative aspects of music and is selective and eclectic regarding live appearances. Up through the years, Manes has nevertheless played a few gigs and festivals here and there.
Our music is dark, atmospheric and immersive, maybe? For me, it also feels very introspective, in a way. I don’t think it fits well in social settings. To describe how it actually sounds is more difficult. I have a hard time placing it in any particular genre, and that’s not to be neither pretentious nor claim we “rise above” genre definition or whatever. I just think it’s hard. Maybe alternative rock, with electronic elements and a twist of metal? There somewhere.
We had death and dying as a kind of dogmatic theme throughout the process of writing ‘Slow Motion Death Sequence’, but we write in a rather untraditional manner. At least compared to other bands I’ve been in. We start with some rough ideas. Loops, themes, riffs or whatever. Then we layer on top of these ideas in the studio. Test some vocals, some drums, guitars and so on. After that, we start arranging, and then we repeat this process over a long period of time. It’s rarely some of us that come up with a “blueprint” for a song. It’s more like Lego. We build it up and tear it down – keeping the parts we like. We try to build around – or refine – the parts that we feel has a touch of magic in some way. It becomes a mess of different approaches and ways to reach the “core” of each song, but we end up removing like 80% of all recordings and then excavate the song within this mess. Something like that. It is a constant creative process all the way up to the master is ready.
Death and dying was the sort of umbrella. Our previous album ‘Be All End All’ had a more mythical edge thematically, so we wanted to go darker and closer to home. Not into the realm of the grim reaper and all that, but more realistic and perhaps nihilistic. Substance abuse, cancer, depression … how we observe our own or other people’s slow-motion death sequence, so to speak.
No, not really. We might have a fixation on reality, in a way. Or a dystopic vision of reality, you might say. That may be something. We draw inspiration from all over the place, as I guess everyone does, and that can be music, film, literature or other art forms, or politics, religion or anything really. But as a band, we are a group of rather different individuals. In that way, none of our different fixations or inspirations shines through in a very obvious sense. We mix them together and stir the pot. You might hear some electronics deep down there that has this and that inspiration, the guitars might have a touch of this or that on some song etc, but there is no consistency to this.
I am rather eccentric in terms of what I listen to myself, so I can’t really say. I don’t manage to follow any particular style of the genre, and I can’t see any trends forming or stuff like that. I do however really appreciate those who see the value (or maybe more so relevance) of the album cover as an extension of the music, more so than just packaging. Regarding artwork for metal (or heavy music) releases, I must say it has been a mixed bag up through the years. From the iconic and amazing to the outright shitty.
Interview by Alex Milazzo – Copyright 2019 © Heavy Music Artwork. All rights reserved.