Review | Elegy – Manifestation of Fear [Vinyl]
Night of the Vinyl Dead
Celebrating their reunion Night of the Vinyl Dead will reissue the back catalogue of Elegy on vinyl and CD, as well as on picture disc. Remastered, their classics will also be made available on the world’s streaming platforms, making them accessible online for the first time.
Gradually dropping their records on vinyl, the record label recently released their pinnacle album `Manifestation of Fear’, the record which reset the band’s beacons impacting on its lyrical content as well as on their musical craft all over. `Manifestation of Fear’ is my personal favorite in their musical journey I got to witness first hand from their rise as a demo band. The album comes as a limited 2LP vinyl edition (40 hand numbered) and pumps from your speakers as it is 1998 all over again.
THE OMNIOUS STORY OF FEAR
Unlike their previous albums, Elegy reset on this output. The band created their intrinsic progressive music around the ominous story of fear rooted in the loss of one’s role model father, and the implications it brings in childhood. Poverty leads to lack of trust and isolation, manifestation on the protagonist’s development of anger and hatred towards society. This sheer tenebrism of the album’s lyrical content shoots root in the overall present gloom and dismay welling.
In line with their back catalogue the band held on to their mega melodic approach, only to steer into a darker and heavier throttled dimension. Muscular riffs and powerful progressive tempo shifts are laying down the groundworks for `Manifestation of Fear’. Van der Laars’ intrinsic guitar playing and stacked harmonies slightly pushed back into the overall palette progressive metal. It is heavier and darker, breathing ominous waves of gut wrecking growl.
,,Unorthodox Methods” takes immediately into the mood of the album, with Dirk Bruinenberg laying down heavy-as-hell drumming with constant tempo shifts and colorful percussion work. His tom and floor interaction laid atop the impressive double bass execution is astounding. Bass player Martin Helmantel adds serious low-end growl with his demanding bass lines. Switching between chordal play and melodic licks he adds to the guitar wizardry of Henk van der Laars and Gilbert Pot. Their interplay feeds off their constitutional craft of their genre, while breathing melody into the dynamics of their harmonies and twins.
This musical guitar wizardry finds accolades in the execution of guitar and bass at the helm on ,,Angel Without Wings”. Mega-melodic, but packing bold heaviness, the song progresses. Drizzling pianos briefly paste a sonic scenery rumbled into dismay by the ravishing drum rolls. “Peart on Acid”, I once referred to Dirk’s drums on `Manifestation of Fear’. The gorgeous solo and its melodic pitch suddenly transcends into metal shred with jaw-dropping twin guitars discharged atop.
ROCK SOLID COMPOSITIONS
All of their musical craftsmanship eludes in rock solid compositions like ,,Savage Grace” and ,,Masters of Deception”, creating dynamics for singer Ian Parry to work from. His raw and powerful echoing vocals are charged to the max on this album. He injects a serious dose of Dio while guarding the uniqueness of his voice close to Jorn Lande’s voice. His emotional outpour puts ,,Master of Deception” on the forefront. Parry’s ability to convey emotions and connect with the listener on a deeper emotional level finds laurel in the presented concept and biologics of the music, transgressing in heavy boldness. Pumping bass weld onto the roaring keyboard brings the dismay for Parry to echo over.
The guitars are muscular and brutal melodic, spiting fierce riffs over the polyrhythmic drumming. When keys start to drizzle midway, a classic Van der Laars solo is unleashed. Gravely speeding up from its piercing pitch, the metal cauldron roars with notes flying off the board. Dismay percolates, emotional wells, storming into the anger-laden section. Brisk, powerful, Van der Laars trademark.
ELEGY AND THE STORY OF THE PROTAGONIST
It all builds to another firecracker prog metal track; ,,Solitary Day (Living in an Ivory Tower)”. The song brings the bands intrinsic classic melodies into play, with bedazzling guitar riffs and licks over enormous melodic hooks. Jagged rhythms and a memorable lick atop boast the dynamics before the song storms into metallic orbit, with a daunting chorus and vocal hook. The shred guitar interplay finds laurels in the piercing solo morphing into eluding solitude. Returning to form, Parry blasts his most powerful register. Clamping down on the agony he echoes before the jagged hooks of the guitars make it die out.
Henk and his guitar tell the story of the protagonist more than the vocals perhaps as the content lands close to his persona. The opening discomfort of guitars conveys his emotions. Luring you into the mix the drums and throbbing bass pulsate in progressive timings while the guitars ebb of and on into the front. Parry belts out the impressive vocals to have mischief growing inside you, aligning with the content of the concept, conveying the message of his lyrics.
HEAVY ON THE HEART
As listener you are drawn into the album with every song and by the time ,,Victim of Circumstance” hits you, the main character is embedded in your emotional state as listener. The song starts of reverting to the first section of the album and sees an uplifting pull from the circumstances outlined. The fresh and mega-melodic break brings sheds different light and feels like bouncing back. The drums are radiant, with Bruinenberg switching from low tom and floor dynamics to drum rattles with high pitched salvos full of progressive timings and rhythmic balance. Martin’s bass growls in dominant low with reverbing licks and chords binding the foundation for both guitarists to shine over.
Pot and Van der Laars’ guitars are switching form constantly between dominant riffs and short salvos of melodic licks and brief solos. This captivating track is topped on by the wonderful ,,The Forgotten” that wells emotional. Heavy on the heart it progresses with low droning pace and Helmantel’s slapping chords embody the growl and gloom. Keys roar an enduring note of loathing before the total agony hits on the ominous instrumental ,,Redemption”. Dramatic heavy gutted bass and keys are paving way for Henk’s guitar to wail, and once Gilbert joins the guitars strike with agony in towering bliss.
Highly melodic, but with sincere distress the songs work its way to its end where album closer ,,Metamorphis” portrays the stories’ end with our main character finding refuge in his new state. The song has a feelgood embedded, without overdoing things. Highly dynamic it progresses with tons of breaks and infective hooks landing deep. Midway the track has a reflective section with Ian belting out ,,Silence is Golden” before Henk and Gilbert bring their guitars to the front with a glorious solo on top of the roaring mid paced bass and drum interplay. Keys add lush atmospheric accolades and take the track with its wonderous guitars into its dying seconds.
As a bonus the album features an extended version of ,,Solitary Day”, previously only issued on the Japanese CD, that extends the song’s reach with higher power. Though changes are minimal, the grip of the track endures in some repetitive moments and instrumentation. This enlarges the initial linger of its emotional discharge making the song a pleasant addition on side D.
ELEGY – THE CONCLUSION
I dare to state this is one of the most overlooked concept albums in metal history. `Manifestation of Fear’ brings a lot of emotion to the front and sees Elegy transcend its mega-melodic rooted past while widening their songwriting window implementing a gut wrecking conceptual story to the front that is emphasized by its musical creativity. The lyrical content is constructed onto the musical carcass welling with the same emotional magnitude, blending and emphasizing the strength of emotions and convey the album’s characteristics into the heart and soul of its spectators. The result is a musical journey the listener is lured into extracting deep sympathy from the content created.
Needless to say, this is an album you have to experience yourself, and this remastered version sees the modern technologies fixing Tommy Newton’s initial mix, balancing the output as a modern and captivating sound spectacle.
Fotos by Edwin van Hoof