After 2012’s dark hit A Map Of All Our Failures, The Manuscript – though only a four-track E.P – has been an eagerly anticipated release from the bands devoted following, and attracted many onlookers along the way due to their odd knack of engaging any audience with blatant sorrow and misery circling their songs; it’s almost like musical voodoo.
Opening and title track The Manuscript opens up the dark abyss with a slow, dragging dirge tinged by the smooth melodic lacquer of vocalist Aaron Stainthorpe, slowly transforming into a gruff and unapproachable song; juxtaposing to the mournful violin usage with harsh guitar chords and whispers setting your hair on edge, awaiting the minute the song will take a harsher turn.
Var Gud Over Er doesn’t mess about at all, it’s so blatantly in your face and aggressive it almost hurts to hear. With Stainthorpe’s vocals now in full, doom-mongering swing with condemning guitars driving the melody and a heart-racing kick drum elevating the mix, this song is dark to its core, made ever darker by gang vocals as if a cult chanting with the bass pounding like thunder through the metallic storm.
A Pale Shroud Of Longing creates longing itself within the listener, it starts slowly moaning and groaning along before slowly, but surely, reaching its full blown assault of power. The rises and falls of both violin and guitar thrust the song to its eventual brutal conclusion, although this song does come across as long-winded it is easy to fall out of love with its intricate beauty, though nonetheless this is a powerful and beautiful piece.
Closing song Only Tears To Replace Her With begins with a spooky spoken word verse, eventually accompanied by dystopian guitar prangs hauntingly sashaying around the prophetic poetry weaving through your mind. The song is atmospheric in so many ways it makes your heart skip a beat. It creates the feel of a funeral, at the albums end it almost leaves you sad that it ended so soon, despite the fact that it is 30 minutes long!
I was surprised with this album, I didn’t expect to like it, sadly I usually dismiss bands like this from the off but I am so glad to have found a treasure like this. It is lyrically and musically breathtaking, although slightly long and repetitive; I do not think it could have been shortened as it would not have held the same awe-inflicting qualities it possesses. A solid release and soon to be a firm favourite of any metal fan.