Dead in the Manger – Cessation (20 Buck Spin)

Tuesday, 3rd February 2015
Rating: 8/10

Last year’s Transcience EP from Dead in the Manger left a very solid impression. Taking the fury of grindcore and combining it with the aesthetic of atmospheric black metal seemed to hit things out of the park in regards to how well it all meshed together. Cessation takes what the band did well on Transcience and blows it up a bit, positioning in the band for even greater things to come.

The strongest aspect of Dead in the Manger is still how well executed their genre mash-ups are. Moments of blistering riffs and pounding blastbeats sound about the way you would expect them to given the title of the band, yet underneath the surface there is so much more happening. The influences of sludge offer up an occasionally monstrous blast of riffage (“Part III), while at other moments, the sly incorporation of melodic/funeral black metal riffs make things beautifully grimy (“Part IV”). If anything, the grind/black metal slant of the band has pushed ever so slightly towards the black metal side and the melodies show it. The blistering approach to a song like “Part II” has some fantastic melodies that feel like something that ‘90s Scandinavia would be proud of, yet the way things shift from these in “Part VI” into some sludgy, post-black chugging and atmospheric melodies gives the impression that these guys have stayed caught up to speed with all of the eloquence of all of black metal’s more modern divergences.

If Transcience gave us a glimpse into Dead in the Manger, Cessation unveils its true form. Proving that they were on to something to begin with and then following it up with a stronger and more balanced release gives them an edge that many bands falter on their second release. Not to mention the more untreaded ground that they continue to move in. Dead in the Manger is a band to keep your eyes on as they continue to evolve.

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