The prospect of combining black metal with grindcore, always brings with it, images of total armageddon and destruction, which in no small parts is because of the Anaal Nathrakh influence. Now, an international and enigmatic group of people who call themselves Dead in the Manger, have brought it upon themselves to introduce another side to the black grind sound. With their debut full length ‘Cessation’ which was released on 3rd February 2015 through 20 Buck Spin, the band takes what we know about black metal / grindcore and completely turns it around.
The genre tag might bring Anaal Nathrakh to one’s mind. Dead in the Manger are like Anaal Nathrakh, if AN lost their industrial element and prioritized cathartic exultation over unrelenting pandemonium. ‘Part I’ initiates proceedings with clean acoustic guitar sections which builds up into a black metal sound that would feel home in a depressive suicidal black metal album. As the blast beat drumming and tremolo picked guitars blare on, the band maintains a melody at the centre of it all and it carries the song forward.
The grindcore element of the music becomes more apparent beginning from ‘Part II’, where the riffs sound like they’re written for a grindcore record, but rendered in a black metal style. This ensures that the music retains the evil, dark melodies of black metal and the vile aggression and anger of grindcore. This is perhaps the most straightforward track on the record.
‘Part III’ starts off like a ritual, with a hypnotic riff repeating over drums that slowly and steadily build up in intensity. They slowly build up on this riff and create this slow, droning tune with some acidic vocals. The deep rasps sounds abrasive and venomous, and it sits nicely with the style of music. What makes these guys stand out is the way the music is not all about being as fast or as heavy as possible. The song writing is well thought out and does not restrict the music to a single path. The music has progression, haunting melodies, black metal atmospheres, grindcore malevolence and even a bit of technicality (‘Part V’).
The only complain I have with ‘Cessations’ is it’s too short for something that’s too good. At only 27 minutes, it feels more like an EP than a full length. The tone on the record is not all out brutal and sounds a tad bit restrained, which is alright since all the nuances in the music would be lost on a raw production.
This is an album that has everything from hate filled aggression, through haunting melodies to slow passages that is capable of inducing a trance, all in the right amounts.