ManiDeum_Whenbeautyends 1. They Murdered Your Youth/2. Every Kiss Is A Carcrash/3. My Fears Are Birds/4. Bourbon Bedtime Story/5. Walk In The City/6. Wolves In My Backyard/7. Summer Ocean Death/8. Brother/9. Stories From A Bar/10. The Storm Is Coming/11. Blood bath in E minor/12.The Fall And The Loss

Release Date:9 November 2015
Top Floor Records

If I knew where the good songs came from I’d go there more often’ (Leonard Cohen)

When Beauty Ends’ is an album which targets our hearts and ‘hits’ with emotionally charged music, with a performance that has a disarming candour and with lyrics that could be perceived as words with ‘blades’. 12 tracks with a captivating musical violence, invoke emotions and thoughts while they ‘open’ and ‘close’ parts of our psyche and our minds for 50’. Mani Deum find where the good songs come from and continue in an even better way than the one they took when they started.

…forever in Hell without a heart…

Mani Deum compose music where every song and every verse of lyrics, leaves its own deep and unique imprint. They achieve this, by moving away from their first album entitled ‘Music For Your Local Church Or Your Local Brothel’ and look for inspiration deep inside their psyches. What makes this album great is the interesting and careful accentuation of certain words, the gaps that are left between them, the lyrical solos, the distorted sounds, the guitar trembles, the rhythmical changes in the acoustic parts, the positioning of the percussion, the melodies that the theremin plays, the ‘smoky’ vocals which were not present in the first album and the overall unique atmosphere that the album creates. The subjects of the lyrics have changed since the previous album and the aphorisms have become poems with meaning as sharp as a blade. All these elements give to this album, the fierceness of a serpent’s tongue and the explosiveness of a daemon.

…in a locked cage I live and the monkeys have the key…

Both the overall style of their music and the more personal, direct and interesting performance of the lyrics compared with the previous one, show that the band has undergone various changes since 2012. Mani Deum are now a men’s band, the orchestration is being done more thoughtfully so that each instrument enhances the created atmosphere in a unique way. Each instrument plays a strongly emotional melody which has many stylistic twists. These changes, coupled with all the other elements in this album, demonstrate that this band has matured in a ‘dangerous’ but beautiful way. The positive elements of the previous album are retained and have been further evolved in this album. I am talking about the combination of different instruments like the banjo with theremin. Similarly in ‘Music For Your Local Church Or Your Local Brothel’ bouzouki found common ground with acoustic folk and rock music.  The first album seemed to be unable to keep its dynamics throughout but ‘When Beauty Ends’ has lyrics which talk about very intense ideas and emotions. These thoughts and feelings are obviously so inspiring to Mani Deum that they seem to have caused a creative explosion within them. The dynamics of the music in this album increases during the second half of it. If the previous album could be described through different punctuation marks, then this one ignores them all and focuses on the overall atmosphere and the meanings of the lyrics and oh they are so many and so emotionally intense!

The influences

Having listened to this album many times, one has no other option but to reject any attempt to compare the music with that of other bands or find points of reference in other music genres. Any attempt to categorize this music is deemed to fail as the band follows a personal and unique path in this album while reaching out to a wider audience at the same time. Other bands have to dedicate their whole music lives to detaching themselves from their influences in order to find their own creative selves. Some of these bands never reach this point. Mani Deum have things to say beyond their influences and everything they want to say is extremely important! ‘When Beauty Ends’ is a musically coherent album from an aesthetics point of view as well, unlike the previous album. This is the result of having less (or more creatively composed) points of reference in music genres, rhythms, ideologies and symbolisms.

The guitars in this album are ‘harsher’ compared to the previous one and the trembles are inspired by similar trembles in metal music (i.e. ‘They Murdered Your Youth’). We could also find references in rock (‘Every Kiss Is A Carcrash’, ‘Summer Ocean Death’) and in black metal (‘My Fears Are Birds’) in terms of style and melodies in this album. The introduction of banjo is a new element to the music of Mani Deum and makes references to country music (‘Walk In The City’, ‘The Fall and The Loss’). The theremin participates in all the songs and plays a primary role in the album. Unlike the first album of Mani Deum, here the theremin doesn’t just determine the atmosphere of the music. Instead we can hear this instrument making significant lyrical changes within each song as its score is enriched. This is more obvious in the songs ‘Brother’ and ‘Bloodbath in E minor’. Percussion instruments ‘colourize’ the music and the lyrics further in both ‘Bloodbath in E minor’ and ‘The Fall And The Loss’.

 The female vocals at the end of ‘The Storm is Coming ’ that make references to the music of Anathema and the addition of backing vocals in ‘They Murdered Your Youth’, are the new elements on what concerns the vocals of this album. The choral vocals at the last ritualistic song called ‘The Fall And The Loss’ proved to be an excellent choice which brought to my mind the song ‘Lunacy’ by Swans. I didn’t like the female vocals in the song ‘Bourbon Bedtime Story’ because they strongly contradict the male vocals in terms of aesthetics and tone. Therefore, instead of complementing the male vocals, the female vocals are constantly antagonizing them. For these reasons sometimes I became distracted, couldn’t listen this song as I would have liked and ultimately I couldn’t pay attention to the lyrics. The contribution of Maxi Nil in ‘The Storm Is Coming’ is positive as it enhances the emotional aspect of the song during the last few seconds. I also noticed that in some songs the sound seemed to be ‘dry’ and without depth as if the space around the musicians was ‘dead’ during the recording. Overall, compared with the previous album the sound in ‘When Beauty Ends’ is much less reverberant and deep. Even though this characteristic enhances the immediacy of the music, it creates a weird feeling about the quality of sound of the space around the musicians…

The guitar melodies in ‘Wolves In My Backyard’ and ‘Summer Ocean Death’ bring these songs closer stylistically to metal ballads. Both these songs link this album with the previous one and this was also obvious at the live gigs of Mani Deum throughout this year. These two songs were always in the setlist and they fit so well with the songs of ‘Music For Your Local Church or Your Local Brothel’ that they gave the impression that they are songs of that album. If you had the chance to see Mani Deum live this year you would’ve heard a version of the song ‘Walk In The City’ that has nothing to do with the one in the album. The presence of banjo and the character of the music especially towards the end of the song prove that the way the song has been performed live to date, is less interesting than the final version of it.

If you are not very too emotionally sensitive, you might listen to ‘Brother’ and not be affected by it. So far there are not many songs in this life that have this numbing effect on me. Bitterness, thrill to the point that it becomes suffocating, are just a few of the emotions that this song has provoked in me. However I find it impossible not to listen to it again! This is a song best enjoyed in complete solitude. If until now you avoided treating yourselves to your favourite whiskey while listening to the album, now is the time to reconsider. I perceived this song as being some sort of ‘gate’ that leads to the place of maximum emotional intensity via the songs that follow. The flavour of a Kentucky bourbon straight, will accompany me as I continue this text…

…I never met my brother he was born in a secret place away from here…he was a sailor and travelled long far away from here…

How many times have you seen Mani Deum live? The song ‘Stories From A Bar’ will nod at you as if it was a person saying ‘You haven’t ‘seen’ anything yet’. Manos K. reveals an almost disarming innocence in his performance that I have personally never seen or heard before in any of the live gigs that I have attended. The person that sings ‘…honey for the night we gazed out the sunset outside the music is perfect and soft as we try to feel the emptiness…’ is the character that prepares the ground for the final emotional ‘blow’ that this album gives after 2.45’ in this song. It is the character of a narrator of a story which doesn’t protect the audience but rather takes them with him deeper in the abyss of their own thoughts.

All of this is nothing my friend he said and paid for our drinks…are you still listening, oh boys…?

Mani Deum did very well when they ‘hid’ this whole character of theirs from live gigs as I would suspect that a lot of people would find it difficult to retain their thrill …But that’s enough for now…

…embrace the wolves and drink red wine…

You can listen and buy this album by visiting the band’s page on bandcamp: https://manideum.bandcamp.com/album/when-beauty-ends The sale of this album through record shops is expected to start soon. Until then you can purchase this album by sending an email to the band using this email address: manideum@gmail.com or by contacting them through their official facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/mani.deum

Blaue Rosen box

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