MANIFEST – Written In Blood

  • 9/10
    MANIFEST - Written In Blood - 9/10


Violent Media
Release Date: 2010-10-11

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

It’s been three years since Manifest’s last brutal assault, Hedonism. Now they’re back with their third album entitled Written In Blood. The Norwegian quartet from Trondheim has once again teamed up with Knut “Fug” Prytz (Keep Of Kalessin, Bloodthorn) for production, mixing, and mastering. The record sounds fantastic and the man clearly knows his Metal … as does the band.

Manifest plays a form of heavy and hard hitting Death/Groove Metal combined with the best from modern Thrash Metal. The band is one of Norway’s best live bands at the present time and they’ve played well-known Metal festivals such as Wacken Open Air, Inferno, Hole In The Sky, Moshfest and Metal Rock Fest.

The material on Written In Blood is varied and the band has really grown since Hedonism. Songs like the album-opener “Tonnie Von Adelaine” is representative of the more Death Metal-oriented songs, while “A .45 To Pay The Rent” and the title track are more Groove Metal-oriented songs with a hint of Thrash Metal and cool shouting choirs.

But it’s first on the song “Pitch Black Inside” that you really start noticing the band’s development since their last studio effort. This album is more varied than the previous and they break up the brutal in-your-face structure with a few slower songs. “Pitch Black Inside” is one of those slower songs, yet it’s nowhere near a ballad. It’s very dark, and vocalist Stian Leknes effectively switches between his rusty and raw clean vocals and his soaring growling. It’s good to hear him explore that part of his voice as well, though he’s been doing that for a while with his Tom Waits tribute band. On “Letter From The Grave” Manifest combine Leknes’ clean vocals with acoustic guitars, a low frequency bass, and lots of toms. Leknes sounds so close to your ear and his words are so heartfelt that it’s almost frightening. The latter song is so far away from their usual style, yet it fits the band’s expression perfectly.

The production is extremely good and though it’s very dynamic it never sounds empty or like something is missing. Even when guitarist Ole Marius Larmerud plays solo (leaving his rhythm guitar duties) it doesn’t feel empty. The bass guitar is fat and groovy and the drums are all over the place at all times. Drummer, Alessandro Elide, really deserve some credit here. He is truly Norway’s Igor Cavalera (Cavalera Conspiracy, ex-Sepultura). There are few drummers that play as emotionally as Elide does and his heart is really into his performance. He knows exactly when less is more, and when to include incredible drum rolls. His varied drumming style really enriches the band’s sound.

Musically, Manifest is still Manifest, fortunately, yet they have taken a step up from Hedonism with this release. Their songwriting skills have improved and production-wise they’re getting more out of the songs. For fans of Death/Groove Metal (or any form of brutal Metal) this is a must-have.


Ole Marius Larmerud – Guitars
Alessandro Elide – Drums
Johnny Wangberg – Bass
Stian Leknes – Vocals


Tonnie Von Adelaine/They’ll Have To Carry Me Home/Food For Flies/The Worst Is Yet To Come/Pitch Black Inside/A .45 To Pay The Rent/Lullaby (Bedtime For Bastards)/Letter From The Grave/irreversible/Savage/Written In Blood


  • Kristian Singh-Nergård

    Kristian is one of the partners at Metal Express Radio. He is Metal Express Radio's Marketing and Communications Manager, and on occasions also reviewer and photographer. Based out of Oslo, Norway, Kristian is a bass player and owner of the independent record label Pug-Nose Records. He has been a proud member of the Metal Express Radio crew since 2006.

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