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Infernal Manes

Edged Circle Productions (2015)
Rating: 5/10

Infernal Manes is a Norwegian heavy metal band who released one professionally recorded demo, Battle Of Souls, in 2003 and then pretty much vanished. It seems, however, that those at Edged Circle Productions feel that such an item should be re-packaged and re-released on limited edition vinyl, especially as there’s news that the guys are on the verge of a comeback with a brand new full-length opus.

Now, if you don’t know anything about this quartet then you may be interested to know that they feature members of Taake, Deathcult, Dead To This World and Gaahlskagg, but the music they played was very much embedded in that traditional heavy metal style; so think Judas Priest, Iron Maiden, Accept, and for a touch of the epic, Manilla Road.

The band were also influenced to a degree by the likes of Mercyful Fate and there’s a half-decent reworking here of the Danish band’s ‘Come To The Sabbath’, but for the most part it’s a rather dated sounding opus that will no doubt go down a storm in today’s climate what with the “in-thing” being bands with an urge to pay homage to the past. So, when you hear a track such as ‘Infernal Manes’ you’ll either be delighted or sickened by the Iron Maiden comparisons, but the reality is this is rather average heavy metal that’s a little lightweight in parts and rather let down by the often tuneless vocal warbles of TJ Cobra (aka Trygve Johan Solheim; Grimskull).

However, because of its rather patchy nature there are times when this trip into nostalgic waters makes for a charming, inoffensive listen, namely on ‘Mind Destructor’ which initially has an Ozzy Osbourne-like riff before transforming into an infectious trudge. My other favourite track is the plundering ‘Battle Of Souls’ which certainly succeeds in sounding like some early to mid 80s Neanderthal metal gallop, but the vocals are woeful at times as TJ Cobra struggles to meet his notes and sounds far more effective with a thrashier gurgle. It’s still very much a heavy metal by numbers affair, but it’ll be interesting to see what the band has to offer on the next record and if any of these tracks get a much needed reworking.

I’m still sceptical about all this classic metal mimicry and am concerned that the scene will once again become all too crowded and fizzle out. It is excellent work for record labels to issue long-lost demo recordings and forgotten gems, but this Infernal Manes affair is a rather bland offering that is so run of the mill that by the time the Mercyful Fate cover comes plodding in I’ve snuffed out the candles and popped off for a snooze.

Neil Arnold

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