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Manetheren - Time (Debemur Morti Productions)

By: Matthew Bowling

[8/10] The abyss is a peculiar place to lose yourself. Time ceases to have meaning and shape ceases to create definition; simply all things as they are known kind of devolve into an imperceptible fog that devours the mind. Listening to Manetheren’s Time is kinda like that, the distraught figure on the cover likely away in an existential abyss and at a loss for how to continue forward in life. The six tracks on hand explore the fringes and esoteric reaches of the mind across 74 minutes and on a whole, create a continuous and suffocating experience, albeit one that is easy to get lost in without careful attention being paid.

Eschewing formal titles for individual tracks works to the better for the six pieces on hand, each thematically threaded but each apart in how the same kinds of sounds and motifs manifest within. Fluid synths gives way to well known blasting in opening “I,” shortly reflecting a side-step from the typical cascade sound but nevertheless sharing much with it. Those synths return with haunting harmonized voices on “III,” adding a dimension rarely touched on by most black metal groups (within the US or otherwise). Across its 15+ minute running time the seeming abyss takes on a myriad of shapes and forms though always returning to the distinct origin point: a blastbeat laden fog. Seventeen-minute closer “VI” flows effortlessly from peak to valley to peak, carrying with it all the disparate points featured at previous point and shaping them into an enormous and flowing epilogue that on its own could carry the album if released as a single track EP.

Despite all the fantastic points prevalent across Time there are a few moments where the fun can be deflated if the listener isn’t rapt in concentration. All six pieces featured in the blackened waters here run close to or over 10 minutes, and the aforementioned tracks all running over 12. For the most part, the time (no pun intended) is well managed but it does make for an exhausting journey and by the end it would be understandable if the listener found themselves looking similar to the individual on the cover. For those willing to lose themselves however will find a deep and extremely rich experience, for the abyss brings with it its own rewards.

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