Review: Mano De Mono ‘Chameleon Tongue’

A tree comes down in the forest, and it’s definitely heard. Something massive this way comes, and sure enough, it’s a huge wall of sound that welcomes us. The entire sound of Mano De Mono is extremely polished. There is a ton of studio work on display, which has been geared towards making sure this album has a sound that’s solid like adamantium.

Review: Mano De Mono 'Chameleon Tongue'

Old Tired Tree rocks at a slow pace, made up of an effortless flow of riffs. They manage to rock the hell out of a midtempo. Mano De Mono’s riffs have a ton of personality, which then gets built up over layers of perfectly stacked distortion leaving no cracks, in order for the voice to stand above and chant, perching over everything.

Vocals by Athos Cherchi are impactful in their character and delivery, bringing to mind echoes of Phil Anselmo and Zakk Wylde. Lyrics can be understood clearly, and also seem to carry a hint of southern metal tinge. The songs barely pause to take a breath, really taking up every crack and stacking it with rock. The bass sound of Marco ‘Buzz’ Murru is really thick, and this instrument is doing crucial work to bring in the flavor. The bass tone sits thick on the spectrum, rocking a big bottom all sexy like.

Guitar work by Kiko De Santis and Cherchi is full of flourishes, but will always privilege the thickness of riffs over any pyrotechnic lead explorations. Keko Magrini’s drums are placed amazingly well, and their sound is on point, extremely tight and powerful, yet capable of bringing in and highlighting the band’s dynamics, in particular on a track like Strength Flow, oscillating between softer and harder parts in the traditional rock way.

Mano De Mono’s riffs have a ton of personality, which then gets built up over layers of perfectly stacked distortion…

Sons Of Barabba goes a bit harder, clearly displaying Mano De Mono’s love of Down. This song is really great, though it feels like it could’ve used a slightly different vocal approach. It becomes clear that the admiration of a Mr. Anselmo has taken Mr. Cherchi far, but he’s surely capable of bringing out his own personality the way the riffs do: Preserving a sonic tradition while always coming up with something slightly different to say.

Ruins has one of the best riffs on the album, it’s a catchy metal hit, and the speed of the song does bring some moments out of the vocals that break the pattern. Easy To Fall is a very headbangable midtempo groove, though the vocals don’t do it too many favors, as they seem to be pushing into active rock turf.

These guys come from the south. The deep south, hailing from the delicious island of Sardinia, Italy. So is this some kind of desert/island grunge metal? I’ll take it! That fact brings the band’s more mainstream stylings into focus. Mano De Mono is meant to rock the party island grunge metal style, and their grooves are meant for all to get down to, heavy and heavily intoxicated. Kudos to these guys for taking on rock when they could’ve just been hanging out on an extremely beautiful beach on a freakin’ Italian island.

Label: Electric Valley Records
Band Links: Facebook | Bandcamp | Instagram

Scribed by: Goro Riffs