Release date: 23 July 2019
Format reviewed: Digital Stream
“Every atom in your body came from a star that exploded. And, the atoms in your left hand probably came from a different star than the atoms in your right hand. It really is the most poetic thing about the universe-we are all stardust.”
Since the dawn of mankind, the one thing that has always fascinated us and still continues to do so is the boundless mysteries hidden in the space…the immortal cosmic curse..the infinite presence in a violent universe. Be it worshipping celestial bodies like the sun, the moon, the planet, the stars..or be it searching for lost souls in the endless void of the night sky..or be it viewing through scientific research and scrutiny, space has always beguiled us. The most intriguing aspect of all this is that we can’t even perceive the majority of the constituents of the universe as “dark matter” is responsible for around 85% of our universe. So it’s no wonder that black metal, being always fascinated with the aura of the hidden mysteries, the fear of the unknown, would inevitably look into the void, into the universe, into the cosmos.
Bands like Arcturus started expressing interest in the astronomy domine in the mid 90’s. But the first true cosmic black metal band to take the metal world by storm was Darkspace. Darkspace combined quintessential black metal theme with the bewildering enigma of space. Unrecognizable screams from the unknown, whirlwind drumming, formless guitar created an atmosphere where there is no sign of human, no sign of life, no sign of civilization…sounds quite a nihilistic, no? Since then, the cosmic black metal scene has been growing and growing. Bands like Midnight Odyssey have integrated neo-classical, darkwave elements to it. Mesarthim and others have created a dreamy atmosphere to make you wander through large Magellanic cloud with space ambience. Oranssi Pazuzu took a more hallucinatory approach and combined ’70s psychedelic elements with cosmic black metal and took it to a whole new dimension. But the bands that I can engage most when it comes to cosmic black metal are bands like Mare Cognitum who take an approach which is more rooted to stereotypical atmospheric black metal to illustrate cosmos and space with their own interpretation. So when I listened to this OFFENBARUNG album,I was very fascinated with it because it sounded like more in my alley, especially at the start. Though they added too much lengthy space ambient passages later which left me a bit cold, “Manifestus” is still a damn fine record.
OFFENBARUNG was formed by Razsuh from Argentina in 2017.He has many other projects besides OFFENBARUNG like Üthceare, Huszar but OFFENBARUNG is his appliance to convey the terrifying magnitude of the cosmos.“Manifestus” is comprised of 2 tracks of 30 minutes and 22 minutes. These 2 tracks are again divided into 2 movements. The first half of each track focuses on anti-terrestrial, raw, haunting riffing and creates an atmosphere of horror, void, fear and unknown. On the other hand, movement II and movement IV are focused on creating a tranquil, dreamy atmosphere with dark ambience.“Portal toward obsidian dreams” is movement which starts with a hypnotizing intro with bewitching sounds from the cosmos and soothing drum rolling behind the drowning guitar. But it soon collapses to the essence within itself with a seething, colossal riff which starts a journey of lifeless form in a frenzied sea. It reminds us of the antagonistic nature of the cosmos…it’s so ineradicable, it’s so uncongenial, it’s so perplexing and mystifying. Sleeping creations are hiding behind the curtain of stars…no trace of “life” as we know it. The black shawl-like quality of nothingness wraps itself around everything…a constant emptiness that makes it all full. Then suddenly everything is so horrifyingly calm, we are engulfed in “Astral meditation in the subterranean mountain”(movement II). There is nothing except quantum of solace…tears of stardust. We are roaming through a Garland of exquisite beauty…only sound present here is a heart-melting hymn..we are lost in billion brilliant stars…we are lost in the extraterrestrial cosmos. Cosmic noise and galactic radio noise are captivating us…taking us beyond the realms of the world we know.“Oniric deambulations through the path of the dead” (movement III) starts with a sound which feels like is coming out of crickets from the space but suddenly bursts into cosmic fury and violence. A suffocating wall of sound with inhuman screams again. We are flying into the asteroid belt…Saturn’s beautiful rings of ice are freezing us all in just a trice. Some doomy, foreboding riffs can be heard through too all the cosmic noise which invokes the image of Spectral Voice.“Rebirth through immersion in the eternal fanged Cascade” is the IVth and the last movement. This part is more enjoyable to me than movement II because the astral ambiance here is accompanied by some mesmerizing guitar works instead of electronic noise. It starts with an endearing plucking which gives false hope of serenity and equanimity, a feeling of flowing with the stars…but soon descends into some troubling, fearful, bewitching,drone-ing noise and reminds us again that serenity is not to be found in this eternal, tenebrous void we know as cosmos.
So “Manifestus” is a psychotomimetic journey in astral voids, in another dimension of space and time.I wish the ambient parts were not this long and interweaved in-between the more intense parts. But still, it’s an enthralling experience through a lifeless plane of stretching boundless infinite sadness.
The immemorial trance of sleep…
Portals toward obsidian dreams…
Spirals of urgency aiming to an absent throne…
Congregation of the lost between the unknown…
7.5/10 Victory Is Possible!
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