Manngard, "Circling Buzzards"
Manngard play a herky-jerky brand of technical death/thrash. Not as intense, chaotic or gripping as Meshuggah or Dillinger Escape Plan, but in a similar arena. Here, parts are allowed to find the occasional groove, but the squirrely tempo shift (and occasional time shift) is definitely a dominant force in the songwriting. I feel like I'm a sightseeing tourist in a student driver's car -- distracted by sudden braking and accelerating and missing much of the experience I expected out of the ride.
The opener, "Wreathed In Rot," grinds and thrashes and sludges it's way through the speakers for a not-so-clean three minutes and eighteen seconds. I'm following, I'm following, I'm… dammit, I wish this guy wasn't singing through a megaphone. Nothing worse than vocals with effects on them. Reminds me of that Meathook Seed album I bought back in high school. Everything was solid but those damned distorted vocals. And to think they had members of Obituary and Morbid Angel in the band. Such a shame. Where'd the death vocals go? Wait, what was I doing? Oh yeah, the Manngard review.
Damn, could someone please pass the Ritalin? Ahhh… better.
"Gravegang" blackens things up a bit. The vocals rasp over a midpaced, minor three-chord progression that signals the evil in the air. This is actually one of the more linear compositions and, not surprisingly, one of the best on the album. Not bad, but don't hold your breath. The band's back to their old tricks on "Tomb Of God" and "Bury The Head" and, well, the rest of the album's one big skullfuck, okay?
I want to like this. There's some killer riffing going on in certain places. And there's obviously been a lot of time and thought put into "Circling Buzzards." Then again, maybe if they hadn't been thinking so much we'd have something a little more cohesive here. It's not that the shifting's not seamless, it's just that more attention could've been put towards the pairing of riffs, rather than twisting the writing in and out and in and out. You don't want to induce ADD in your listeners, do you?
One more thing. What's with the dry guitars? If you're gonna do crazy, do crazy! Don't pussyfoot around with your distortion at 6 or 7… take it to 10. Better yet, take it to eleven.
Wreathed In Rot