Maanes – Under Ein Blodraud Maane


When a genre performs a postmortem on itself as black metal is about to do, it looks back through the years not only to find its peaks, but to find its forgeries. Like the first real black metal forgery, Ulver Nattens Madrigal, Maanes is an artistic fraud that uses the technique of black metal for its own sake, without having any idea of the underlying expression. It does not matter what that expression is because it cannot be policed with a list of rules, but the fact that it exists in actual black metal and not here is a matter of historical record.

“Sensitive guy” metal was nothing new when this was released. Opeth had already been mincing around the edges of the underground for a few years, following up on melodic softer death metal from Tiamat and Cemetary. Paradise Lost was huge and so was the idea of “crossover,” since everyone and their dog realized black metal had a narrow set of ideas that required exceptional people to implement, and that with those exhausted there was now a market for imitators. Maanes starts with the proposition that Burzum can be cloned, and to make that clone palatable to the kids emerging from the suburbs like spores from fungus, this clone could be hybridized with light progressive rock like Pink Floyd. The result is 90% black metal tropes laid out in mellow songs that develop seemingly independently of the melodic and corresponding artistic implications of the riffs, making an experience that is pleasant on the surface but leaves a gnawing emptiness from its failure to deliver the kind of profound transport and insightful revelation that black metal provided.

What makes this release hard to attack is that it is well-executed, well-produced and carefully concealed. Maanes are not amateurs; more likely, they are guys who got tired of having no success in other genres despite being better musicians than the people who were making the big bucks and getting their names in the newspapers. Like other Burzum clones of the era, most notably Abyssic Hate, Maanes make good use of Burzum sweep technique and even give a nod to Filosofem with the production. Using grandiose keyboards alongside somewhat obvious riffs capitalizing on known black metal patterns, Maanes keep up the black metal “sound” but these songs never go through the emotional process of discovering what lies beneath and so rapidly the listening experience becomes like hearing a front-loading washer finish up a duvet cover, if the washer had a good background in rock guitar.

The tragedy of black metal is that while it cannot be cloned it can be imitated, and so bands like Ulver and Maanes emerged to put a black metal surface on the same stuff they would have done with their Oingo Boingo cover bands a few years before. Interestingly, the technical competence as songwriters of these bands has declined over the years as nu-black has set its sights more on punk than on progressive rock. The approach remains the same and the effect similarly hollow, leaving listeners wanting more but not sure they want more of this. These sprawling songs carefully disguise how much they repeat their themes, often for seven minutes at a time, in what is essentially verse chorus songwriting that every two repetitions interrupts itself with a brief divergence. Newer bands do not even bother to do that, but make straight-up pop songs with black metal distortion and a few riff archetypes. Nods to Burzum, Darkthrone and Mayhem bubble to the surface throughout this release but it is unable to build context for its riffs to create the kind of atmosphere that those founding bands manipulated so well. The result is like every other aspect of modern society, ultra-competent on the surface and directionless within.

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37 thoughts on “Maanes – Under Ein Blodraud Maane

  1. Juicy Cocks are yummy says:

    yEAH well, Enthroned was always a superior band, even featured regularly on Prozak’s Oraation of Disorder show.

    This is the shit right here:

  2. So what”s your beef with the later output of Monstrosity ?

    Seriously? If Brett Stevens can write a serious review saying he loves Carcass- Heartwork and still save face, then fuckit man, who is he to say later Monstrosity sucks ? I mean, I agree with him that later Bolt Thrower sucks jewcy cocks but … Monstrosity ?

    Monstrosity – Rise to Power 2003

    Spiritual Apocalypse 2007

    1. Anthony says:

      I’m pretty sure that he reviewed Heartwork as a sonically appealing but artistically bereft album, kind of like a back-handed compliment.

      Also, Monstrosity sucks hard after In Dark Purity. It doesn’t even sound like the same people writing riffs any more.

      1. Ara says:

        Cuz it’s not. I think by then only Harrison was the only original member.

  3. dipym666 says:

    Cory might have gone a little overboard on this one.. ha ha. I guess its derivative but within its own set of limitations and shall I say, pretense; its carried forward by good instrumentation (like Cory mentioned).


      Cory is really Brett Stephens in disguise. And by that I mean, him wearing Suffocation tshirts and penny loafers writing articles with a different screen name. One day he writes Immortal is great, the next he says they suck drunken cock. What’s weird though is, that I’m starting to believe Prozak and Brett Stephens are really not the same person! Just like Bitterman is really Conservationist and Crow is secretly Tiny Midget. Just like I’m really Richard Head..

      1. Richard Head says:

        Spoiler: We are all Brett Stevens’ sock puppets.

      2. LostInTheANUS says:

        We’re all just split personalities of some Texan lunatic and you know it.

    1. trystero says:

      Thank god this band is exposed now. That review always rung hollow. Manes is really unsatisfying music.

  4. MichelobMike says:

    this is a good album. Better than friggin’ Lord Wind, at least.

  5. nefasth says:

    “looks back through the years not only to find its peaks, but to find its forgeries. Like the first real black metal forgery, Ulver Nattens Madrigal”

    Haha, the ignorance of youth.
    The first real black metal forgery was Bathory, after what came
    The Return…… (of the Forgery).

  6. disinchanted with self pity says:

    All these inconsistencies in musical judgment between writers of the same website really makes you think if you can’t trust anyone anymore.

    For those of us who initiated our metal journey while reading the old Anus site and discovering that even Prozak can write contradicting reviews, makes me wonder if the less critical metal sites and open minded crowds are up to something when they claim the Anus is full of shit.

    Should I sell my Manes copy? Or my Nargaroth cds I bought only because Prozak wrote they were brilliant? Or my Christ Agony records too? I’m glad I didn’t buy that mindless Terrorizer album he seems to like. In two years he’ll say it’s just a fun record for imbeciles that think Pantera are entertaining…

    Maybe I should just quit metal altogether.

    1. Richard Head says:

      You should quit metal if you can’t train your own ear and come to your own conclusions about the music you buy.

      1. discodjango says:


    2. Rupert Pupkin says:

      Actually, the DLA is just an elaborate practical joke. Do you actually listen to the bands?

  7. That was one of the most ignorant reviews I’ve ever read. Never mind that this album is a timeless masterpiece of the genre – everyone is entitled to their opinion on music and if it didn’t work for you, fair enough – but Manes were there in the scene since 1993 and anyone with a clue about black metal would be well aware of the respect they had in the underground back then.

    A forgery? An artistic fraud? Those are big claims to throw around and claims that can’t be backed up here. As for being a Burzum clone… Manes were peers of Burzum; not only that they were pioneers in their own right, inspiring the more depressive bands in the genre such as Shining, Xasthur and Forgotten Tomb – like them or hate them, as a writer you should at least be aware of and acknowledge the significance they have had, instead of casually belittling them (along with Ulver and Abyssic Hate, two other revealing blunders on your part).

    1. trystero says:

      All of those bands are garbage. You are pretty much making the point here.

    2. hypocrite says:

      A “timeless masterpiece”? Wow, you’re a fucking idiot.

    3. fenrir says:

      Peers of Burzum? contemporary, you mean. Peers… no.

      Manes’ is a cool album, sure, but not a masterpiece. It is not a matter of opinions.

    4. Dayal, great to see you commenting here. I enjoyed your book. What do you think of Ancient and Skepticism?

      1. tiny midget says:

        hello brett !! great to see you commenting here.

    5. Richard Head says:

      I can think of lots of crappy bands that were hugely influentual, which only means they begat more crappy bands. That’s a weak defense.

      (No comment on Maane’s music.)

    6. fenrir says:

      besides, if Manes “were in the scene since 1993” it automatically discards them as peers of Burzum who was “in the scene” since the late 80s and had put out a couple of releases by the time Mane’s put out their first DEMO.

      1999, the year of this release, is plenty of time for them to follow in the steps of greater artists, such as Burzum.

  8. The Real Slim Shady says:

    Did someone save all the bitterman reviews? If so, please pastebin them. Thanks.

    1. bitterman jpg says:

      I found them here but theyre incomplete:

      I hope that help dude.

    2. LostInTheANUS says:

      Just google “bitterman reviews metallum” you lazy fuck.

      1. Nasty Gus says:

        brett stevens could only hope he had bitterman’s massive balls !!!

    3. Cortez says:

      While bitterman’s reviews are surely entertaining, I don’t feel like they offer any real insight into the music. I feel they mostly exaggerate fairly obvious negative opinions that already exist elsewhere.

      1. trystero says:

        Really? I get the opposite. In fact this is not unique to me, even critics do tend to acknowledge that there is at least some insight into the music, its construction and purpose, in the reviews. The Meshuggah review for instance.

  9. Richard (gives) Head says:

    Even NWNites calling each other boneheaded goatfucking mongoloids is more amusing than this.

  10. Forbinator says:

    This article has actually made me check out the album and I’ve now ordered it from eBay. At these early stages it seems comparable to Ancient’s “Svartalvheim” in quality and style, but obviously I can’t yet attest to its replay value.

  11. Jennifer T says:

    What’s this site’s opinion on Amon Amarth’s first ep
    “Sorrow Throughout the Nine Worlds” ??

    It seems different in style and content compared to their later commercial heavy metal death ouput, anybody agree?

  12. Eddie Trunk says:

    I really need to have sex with the ARA dudes, like NOW !!!

    1. Ara says:

      we just added another guitarist, so don’t tease us if you can’t accommodate the whole band.

      1. …is this our next writing contest?

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