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Viimanegi Veri

This is excellent black metal from Estonia that creates a fairly original atmosphere. The band consists solely of two members, one handling vocals, lead/synth guitar, and bass, and the other takes care of rhythm guitar. I'm pretty sure the drums are programmed, but it doesn't even matter, because not only do the beats fit in well with the material, but the drum tones are quite nice, and though somewhat "digital", they're subdued in the mix as not to detract from the songs. As for the style, there are some more traditional black metal tracks like "Raakigem Reetureist" with its raw attack of speed and aggression with only slight doses of synth tones in the background, and then there are more adventurous pieces like "Vahk" with its jagged riffing and complex changes, extensive vocal layering, and even some beautiful clean guitars. "Meelepett" even utilizes some excellent singing vocals that add a wonderful new dimension to the material. The vocals are usually midrange screams that are very textured and quite effective, especially when layered or panned for additional effect. There are a few "interludes" consisting mostly of synths and samples of storms and the like, which may seem generic, but they're really not, and they transition nicely between songs when present. The production is very effective, especially when taking into consideration the fact that only two people are responsible for all of this music. There's a nice sense of density, the guitars are usually fairly clear, etc. I would like to hear a little bit more bass, but for the most part I have no real problems with this. It's rugged and primal in the most effective way possible. The layout is very clean and consistent, using graceful dark imagery and slick typefaces throughout. The lyrics are written in poetic Estonian, but English translations are provided. Translated titles like "Of Pride and Vengeance" might suggest generic or poorly written tomes, but that's not the case. While some of the subject matter is common for the genre, I feel that the delivery is far more intelligent, "I'd rather have the blind to show me the way, And the silent to be my guides, I sing praise to their deaf ears, And crown the miserable to be my kings…" I would highly recommend this to fans of black metal in general, but especially to those interested in the earlier works of Emperor or Enslaved. Manatark does not sound like either of those bands in the least, but they are very creative and challenging within the framework of what I would consider to be "true" black metal.



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