Taking on a project such as this to review is always a source of much trepidation. To willingly step out of a comfort zone, and review something that isn’t anything you’re used to, can go one of two ways, it will turn out surprisingly well, or it will be a complete let down.
The Chronicles Of Manimal And Samara is the brainchild of Daphne Ang and Andrea Papi, and even though they’re London based, this has a very international feel indeed. Genre defying, The Chronicles Of Manimal And Samara are welcoming to the world their second release, Full Spectrum, which brings together music, literature, art, and history, in one big melting pot of ideas. Poetry and spoken word interlaced with both elements of the electronic and rock worlds, form the basis of these ideas, and after listening through a few times, I feel that opinions will be strongly divided between love or hate, in the most polarising way.
Over the course of Full Spectrum, the eleven-track rollercoaster, no ideas appear to be left out. There are heavy moments, some ambience, drum and bass, and monologues covering all matter of subjects, everything from Greek mythology, to pandemics and our modern-day problems. It certainly won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, but I guess when all other ideas have been done to death, trying something new is the best way forward.
Right from track one, Atoms, the monologue starts, accompanied with a movie soundtrack soundscape, for an apocalyptic world. I draw comparison to The Gathering, and how they layer in soundscapes and other oddities such as soundbites. This doesn’t last for long though, it is quickly replaced with the interjection of a dance beat, which changes the structure of the piece completely.
As the monologue continues, it all becomes very space age with its techno elements, and somewhat alien to me. As the heaviness returns it brings me back round, and I’m happy again. Like the periods of the world, the music runs from primal, to futuristic, and eventually into apocalyptic.
This sets up half of the stage for what’s coming with the rest of the album, but track two changes things completely, and exposes the other side to TCOMAS.
Psychopath’s Monologue is in complete parallel to Atoms, with its erotic female gratification moans at the start, writhing into the drum and bass electronica. This track is at the completely opposite end of the spectrum musically, and beyond catagorising it as dance music, I have nothing else to tag to it as it’s an area of music I don’t really have much knowledge. I’m sure if you like a little drum and bass in your life you’ll love this, but for me, it messes with my metal music sensibilities, and leaves me behind. But that is the thing with mixing styles, you aren’t going to please a hundred percent of the people a hundred percent of the time.
Poetry and spoken word interlaced with both elements of the electronic and rock worlds…
This seems to be how the rest of the album plays out, with the exception of a couple of lighter interjections.
I am taken with Deus Ex Machina, as it’s more in line with what I am into, and it has a real Tool feel to it. It’s harder in its nature, and drops into industrial really nicely. Again, as with all but one music track, there is a monologue running throughout, and after looking in to the subject matter, the inclusion of this is truly surprising. Much like TCOMAS are.
At times this album grabs me, and I love what’s going on, and by contrast, there are other times where I just don’t ‘get it’, and even my children look at me in a ‘why are you listening to dance music’ kinda way.
The Descent has moments of hard-hitting intensity musically, which I adore, with pounding drums and breakneck guitar, as does Love In The Time Of Pestilence. It has a really doom element to it, which sits nicely behind the spoken word, and gives it a real foreboding feel.
Title track Full Spectrum opens with a drum and bass ambience which leaves me cold, but a few minutes in things have changed, and a heavy guitar is messing with the experience. It reminds me a little of some of the nineties European industrial music bands such as Front Line Assembly and Front 242.The whole track seems to flirt between this industrial sound, and avant-garde dance music, which pushes images of dungeon clubs in the mid-nineties, like those portrayed in a fair few horror films, such as Hostel.
As the album ends, the finale is simply a gong and the announcement ‘the trip is over’, and that’s exactly what this has been.
Looking back on the whole experience, I’m torn. Personally, the drum and bass stuff leaves me cold, but everything else really makes up for it. Like I said at the beginning, this work of art will be polarising, you will either love it, or some of it, or it won’t be for you at all. If you’re wanting something new to try for twenty twenty one, give it a go, you might surprise yourself, but if hard rocking is your thing, then maybe give it a swerve.
Scribed by: Lee Beamish