CD REVIEW Manipulator

Band: Manipulator
Title: Voidbound
Label: Soulseller Records
Distribution: Sure Shot Worx
Release date: 16/03/2012
Review: CD

The duo Manipulator is a mysterious project of two Frenchmen, who call themselves Moil of the Macabre Manipulation (aka M., the main person after this project) and Obliteration of Odious Obedience. Manipulator recorded a demo before entering the studio to finalise an EP with the title Voidbound, yet since the project got signed by one of the most surprising labels lately, Soulseller Records, the release consists of both the four EP-tracks as well as the demo ‘songs’ as extra feature. With gratitude and acknowledgement…

Voidbound comes with English lyrics, which isn’t that evident for a French act, dealing with Death in a very general aspect. Manipulator call their musick ‘abysmaldeathmetal’, but I cannot agree completely. Abysmal for sure, yet this isn’t just ‘Death Metal’. I would rather refer to necrotic and funereal Underground Black Metal, injected with elements from Suicidal Doom-Black, Old School Death, Doom-Death and the likes. Doesn’t matter, the first three tracks on Voidbound are grim, nocturnal and macabre, even somewhat mysterious. Opening track “Passing The River” for example (and actually it goes for the other songs as well) reminds me to a mixture of very early Darkthrone (back then still called Dark Throne), very early Autopsy, very early Bathory, very early Abruptum and a nice portion of Hellhammer, and this goes for the obscure, suffocative and mesmerizing atmosphere as well. The EP ends with the Darkthrone-cover Cromlech, performed intensively satisfying and soothing.

Attention: the production: enormously under-produced, too noisy, even though it sort of suits to this opacity. It might seem strange, but the sound quality of the demo tracks is much better; read: less muddy, less ‘empty’. Besides, these tracks are more varied than the ones on the EP, and for sure more aggressive and straight-forward. Except for the drum computer, it does sound more organic than the EP too. The basics are comparable to the EP-hymns, with, again, a focus on ‘abyssal’. Like the bands or projects I did mention at the former paragraph, also Morbid Angel (Abominations …-era), Possessed, Tormentor, Mantas (pre-Death) and Necrophobic (anno very early nineties) come to mind (unlimited open-mind, evidently).

Conclusion: if making abstraction of the production, highly recommendable to all adepts of abyssal Death / Black Metal!

89/100

Ivan Tibos.