Manes – Teeth, Toes, and Other Trinkets (Debemur Morti Productions)Wednesday, 15th January 2014
Manes are unpredictable. Shortly after splitting up in 2011, founding members Cernunnus (a.k.a. Tor-Helge Skei, and last remaining original member) and Sargatanas renewed the band under the name of Manii. Over their own crazy course of 2013, Manii released Kollaps as the only album under their new name, but only to return as Manes presenting their sixth compilation album in 2014.
Of their copious chronology of releases, this will be the sixteenth. Manes may have forgotten this rule, but when it comes down it, quality over quantity really does matter. Former fans beware, similar to several of their later releases, Teeth, Toes, and other Trinkets is nothing like either of their (count them) three raw ambient desolate-black metal demos. Way to go Manes, way to make demos (you know, the abbreviated term for demonstrations?) and then go completely off track.
Compiling Teeth, Toes, and other Trinkets, Manes extracted and remixed pieces of albums like Vilosophe and How the World Came to an End, excluding all of their seeming to be long-gone metally material. No matter how many times a song is reissued or remixed, it is not going to get much better or worse. At least diluting the overkill of trip-hop, Asgeir Hatlen has a natural and gentle-sounding voice.
Manes are yet another black metal band faded away and haplessly lost to experimental electronica. Sound effects are exciting here and there, but not so much when they take over composition. “Deeprooted” flat out sounds like a video game. If we wanted to hear Metroid meet Mario, we would just dig out that old Nintendo from the closest.
Like the abstractions of the cover art, Teeth, Toes, and other Trinkets doesn’t really make sense, though quite possible it isn’t supposed to. Maybe it really is just an assemblage of their peaked to not-metal-at-all pieces. Whether they are trying to appeal to a different crowd or they’re just trying to display their more electronic/jazzy side, it’s a flopping letdown and abandonment to the black metal scene.