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Crimson Hours

I had heard/read wonders about the Black Metal scene of the Baltic countries. Unfortunately, my prejudices against Black from Slavic lands - Folk/Pagan elements are not my cup of tea lately - had kept me away from those bands. I had only checked SKYFORGER from Latvia and LOITS/ASSAMALLA from Estonia... didn't enjoy any of them... but well, God or whatever above wanted me to get my hands on this promo by Estonian MANATARK, and believe that I never expected melodic Black Metal of this quality.

The music delivered here is very technical, with an attractive riffing and interesting melodic breaks... the vocals, and the whole harmonic game, sounds totally emotionless, seeming more like a mathematical musical construction. The mixing between Black Metal growling and clean voice is perfect, all the time accompanied by outstanding strings (the guitars are the standout point of this band). To give you musical references, picture something between the cold Doom of early NOVEMBERS DOOM (sharing with MANATARK the lack of passion in their music) and the precious melodic Black Metal of WYRD, which gives us a very interesting breed.

"Crimson Hours" should be a delight for non conservative blackers. A skilled, creative composition followed by a very good vocal performance, bliss and an uncompromised avant-garde touch. You will find lots of different elements here from Gothic to Black Metal, and believe me that they're well put together... just don't expect any Folk here as my narrow mind expected from the Baltic, but plain melodic Black Metal that is not re-inventing anything, but it's so damn well displayed.

Author: Daniel
Zine: Metal Observer

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