Published by Davide Pappalardo on March 25, 2017
We have already talked about Russian duo Manunkind (Eugene Gin and Dee Grinski), while reviewing their first self-titled EP on cassette, published the last year by Materia Productions, and we had the pleasure to interview them, discussing about their blending of power electronics, noise, and industrial. Now, they return with a new cassette called Russian Parodox, limited to 100 copies and published by Instruments of Discipline: a work following the way of its predecessor, giving us four new belligerent tracks, based on sharp sounds, strong rhythmic patterns, otherworldly vocals, violent and militant pulses, but, at the same time, showing a growth in songwriting and direction, empathized by a more organized usage of industrial rhythms and synth sounds, achieving an overall epic effect, by controlling the noisier elements of their music.
The titletrack opens the work with an ambient structure, dominated by creepy atmospheres, endured by field-recordings made in an industrial setting and the duet between male and female spoken words, repeating the title of both the cassette and the track. Then, the text evolves with words of admiration and dismay, giving us the paradox of the Russian country, so full of culture, history, and, at the same time, of social problems, suffering and misery. Accordingly, the music degenerates in a noise direction, made of feedback and deafening shrills, translating physical and psychological pain in an almost epic sequence, where the vocals are now like the lament of a wounded animal. But the surprises in store are many, and a celestial synth is introduced together with a rigid rhythm, in an oniric tension, which is, at the same time, a climax and a restraint. New ambient effects find their place, just like the samples of crying infants and metallic soundscapes, while hellish explosions are not too far. A compelling, almost electro-industrial beat, takes its place in a grandiose crescendo of epic proportions, and then, the rhythm knows a more syncopated direction, always enthralling us without forfeiting noisy elements and brutal, gnawing and guttural vocals. After more than ten minutes we find the sound of an alarm clock, interrupted by sudden distortions, progressively returning to the first section of the track, made of spoken words and industrial effects; but that’s not the end, because a new ride takes centre stage, fusing once again a more direct approach with the power electronics elements of the duo. The ending part of the track shows us a delicate sound, where the vocals become like desperate whispers, in a diaphanous, dream-like, sequence, soon violated by defying noises. At the end, only the melodic synth lasts, in a vacuum which tastes like a sweet abandon into nothingness.
Atrax Mors is a track about the parallels between contemporary Europe and the one of 1346, introduced by a croaky sound, layered upon a static effect, showing, from the start, the power electronics-oriented songwriting used in the track. Sinister and eerie samples are fused with distorted and unrecognizable vocals, in an everlasting loop characterized by an obsessive monotony; the tension grows step by step thanks to a noisy crescendo which finds its end in a maelstrom of distortions. The approximate man takes its lyrics and title from the poem of the Romanian/French poet and artist Tristan Tzara, crafting a chaotic but methodical number, which starts with a noisy layer, working as a sound interference. Then, war alarms and hard beats are added to the formula, followed by the roaring vocals of Eugene, in an industrial march full of reverberation and ghastly atmospheres, a sonic drama which hypnotizes us with its mantra.
Hall of records works aptly as the last track of the cassette: for many seconds, we have a loop sounding as a bagpipe on repeat, upon which mysterious vocals are layered together in an almost sacramental atmosphere, but we don’t have to get too comfy, because, all of the sudden, a familiar rhythmic explosion takes place, grinding our ears in a stream of reverberation and industrial distortions. The militant atmospheres of death-industrial are here, and we can’t think not of Genocide Organ and Mz.412, while listening to this hypnotizing loop.
Manunkind show us they don’t want simply to shock or to create walls of noise without any real purpose; their narrative is very rich, both in lyrics and sound, and they mix, without reverences, the typical elements of power electronics and noise with strong death industrial rhythms and enthralling melodies, never overdoing it. The result is a personal approach to a kind of sound that has been perpetuated by many projects, following many times a dogmatic scheme.
This doesn’t mean they are a faux noise band: when they hit, they hit very hard, and they’re not afraid of abrasive and shrilling sounds, and they do not forsake the aforementioned walls of noise. But their music is the product of much more, something hypnotizing and enthralling, with soul as much as a strong and punishing sound, the representation of a land full of history, tragedies, strong willed people. A land that is their home and will forever leave its mark on their hearts and souls. If you don’t already know about them, and even if you do, listen to this new work of one of the most promising realities in modern industrial/noise.
Label: Instruments of Discipline
Rating: 8, 5