I’ve found my musical niche this last year as it turns out I’m a big fan of post-rock/post-metal. I love the serene moments abruptly interrupted by chaos. But one of the great things about writing for The Shaman is that sometimes a band I would have overlooked is brought to my attention and a much-needed change of pace is currently running through my headphones. This time our editor Lee introduced me to Manic Abraxas and it’s exactly what I needed to hear. Thanks Lee.
I’m the kind of guy that when a band plays the same riff at half speed, my mind is blown! The slower the better, maybe because that’s the only speed I can play *shrugs shoulders*. Manic Abraxas is like taking that slow vinyl record and accidentally leaving it on 45 rpm.
Opener Red Camo Rock is explosive from the get-go. Filled with epic riffs, growling vocals, and pounding drums. It sets a fast pace for Manic Abraxas to maintain but they certainly can keep up as shown in Onyxsphere’s fast High On Fire riff with accompanying vocals. For a brief moment you get to hear the muddy bass tone of Justin Hamm and it’s nasty! Dallas Seger finishes the song out with face-melting solos to start this album off with a 1-2 punch!
I Tobalakai comes in third and takes a groovier approach to the music. The tempo slows a bit but, the riffs are equally epic. The lead has a cool ripple effect and the droning vocals over the top create a haunting vibe that transitions into the eerie intro of Foreign Winds. The reverb soaked, barely broken guitar, is interrupted by a perfectly distorted riff and a slow drum beat by Tom Bennett that drives the song along. The slower pace of both songs feeds my half speed need I mentioned earlier.
Filled with epic riffs, growling vocals, and pounding drums…
Canonized starts with yet another epic riff, and it’s not apparent, Manic Abraxas has an endless bank of catchy riffs and hooks. I particularly love around the one-and-a-half minute mark as the chords ring out indefinitely and the almost spoken word vocals gives me a strong Steve Von Till vibe from Neurosis! The song kicks back in, continuing to build on the epic riff from the beginning and the strong ending has an Alice In Chains vibe. Combining Neurosis and Alice In Chains… I didn’t know I needed that combo!
Domerunner starts with Bennett on drums and seems to have a phaser effect. Never heard that before but I love it! Again, more insane riffs mixed into the high-powered song. Growling vocals add to the sound that gets the blood flowing and the fists flying. It’s amazing how the energy can be felt through the speakers, and I can only imagine how it was during the recording process.
Manic Abraxas have a wide variety of influences, so why not end it with an English punk song? Black Destrier begins with a heavy and haunting nature, but forty seconds in, the upbeat drumbeat, downstroke guitar riff and vocals definitely pay homage to the punk greats of the 70s. The intensity builds and Seger sends this album off with a mind-melting solo, closing this long-player just as epic as it started!
Manic Abraxas would have passed my radar if it wasn’t for Lee and I’m glad he sent it my way. This high energy album is a great way to start the day and the inspiration to play riffs was endless. I’ve picked up the guitar more since I listened to Foreign Winds and the hunger to write riffs grows with each listen.
Scribed by: Josh Schneider