Transcending Bizarre?
The Serpent's Manifolds


4.5
superb

Review

by Kyle Ward STAFF
September 19th, 2008 | 108 replies | 13,578 views


Release Date: 2008 | Tracklist


The search for new and interesting music is slowly grinding to a halt for me, as much as I hate to say it. There just aren’t bands out there that are willing and able to try something different, make something interesting, but most of all make it good. A lot of albums I’ve gotten in the past few months have been nothing more than disappointing, worth maybe two listens at best, and always seem to sink into my collection behind other, more worthy albums. It is a pleasant surprise, though, to find something which makes me happy on all levels. When I was recommended The Serpent’s Manifolds, the newest offering by Greek Avant-Garde black metal band Transcending Bizarre?, I approached it with my usual bit of skepticism. I wasn’t expecting it to be good; it seemed way too out there to be anything remotely interesting. What I learned, however, was that The Serpent’s Manifolds is like a well encrypted code; incomprehensible at first, but truly meaningful after it is given the time to be understood.

The weird thing about this album is how, with everything that’s going on, each song has a fairly centralized focus. Whether it be that pretty damn catchy chorus in “Irreversible”, the sweet bass lick in “Cosmic Zero Equation”, the ear-catching two minute guitar solo to close off the entire album in “Infinite”, or the subtle harmonized guitars toward the end of “The Serpent’s Manifolds”, it all pretty much works together in perfect harmony. The programming, keys and synths are used quite a lot but never seem like they are running the show or overly stupid, everything seems to balance in perfect equilibrium between the most basic and most complex of songs. There are moments such as the beginning of “Cell” where things break off from the mold of the first five tracks, with keyboards, violins and effects abound for the first three minutes before things tighten into a really excellent rhythm.

The simple use of tempo changes works wonders in making everything seem different, and coupled with the excellent (and imaginative) songwriting it makes the album a pleasure to listen to beginning to end. Seriously, nothing gets boring and there isn’t one boring track during the entire run time. Also, the fact that this is labeled as “Avant-Garde” doesn’t make it completely out there and obscure. There are many trademarks of traditional black metal which are retained here, most notably in the pretty astounding drumming and some hints of it in the vocal style. “Writhing Coils Of Construction” is full of pretty impressive fills and lightning-fast double bass along with everyone’s favorite- blast beats! But don’t think that means that it’s just all-out behind the kit for the entire album, since there are many times when the drums are used more toward interesting atmospheric touches (the intro to “Cell” is an excellent example of this).

The band has talent in every department and the songwriting to back it up. They can write such excellent heavy tracks and also have the patience and intuition to take the time to write some pretty crushing slower songs. Speaking of songwriting, if you take a look at the use of singing in this album you will find that clean vocals are used exactly and only where they are needed (meaning that they are never, ever overused and don’t water down the “black metal” part of the album). “The Music Of The Spheres” is where, in my opinion, the vocals are at their best, because the interchanging between the layered growled vocals and the pretty melodic clean vocals is as perfect as you can get.

The Serpent’s Manifolds does what it does because of the inclusion and focus of each and every instrument on each and every song. The guitars are heavy, but at the same time extremely melodic and lay down riffs and solos like nobody’s business. The bass is audible and actually contributes. The drums are highly effective and a pleasure to listen to, perfectly controlled during every song. The keys and synths do wonders to the atmosphere of the album, inserting effects during every song to make it sound fresh and interesting. The vocals are the glue to the album, doing a practically flawless job of keeping things uniquely black metal and uniquely avant-garde. If you want to find out exactly what you are in store for, only one listen to the absolutely flawless closer “Infinite” is all you will need. Transcending Bizarre? are truly geniuses at what they do, crafting an album full of excellent songs and unique moments to black metal as a genre. Purists beware, though; this isn’t something for the “tr00 kvlt black metal fan” who won’t accept change. This is something for people who are sick and tired of hearing the same old thing, tired of being disappointed by half-assed attempts at sounding “deep” and interesting. The Serpent’s Manifolds is a must for fans of black metal, and should be seriously considered by anyone with a desire for something new in metal.



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user ratings (63)
Chart.
3.8
excellent

Comments:Add a Comment 
BallsToTheWall
September 19th 2008



44164 Comments


Another great review of course. I think I myspaced this band before and enjoyed what i heard, not sure but i'm going to listen again. Most likely I will get this.

marksellsuswallets
September 19th 2008



4848 Comments


Crap...now bands are going to start using ?'s instead of !'s to look different...I've been rapidly growing out of black metal lately but this sounds interesting enough to check out I guess...tr00 kvlt black metal...hmm...*can't think of a Varg joke at the moment but rest assured I will be back

Oh and good reviewThis Message Edited On 09.19.08

fireaboveicebelow
September 19th 2008



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

cool review, I've been waiting for this one

jrowa001
September 19th 2008



8750 Comments


good review. i have this but only listened to it once all the way through. it was good but i think i need to listen to it again to get a good feel for it.

Willie
Moderator
September 19th 2008



15887 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I've been bored with black metal lately too. Hopefully This will turn things around.
Oh, and at this point is there even a reason to tell you that you've written yet another good review?

Digging: Emperor - In The Nightside Eclipse - 20th Year Anniversary

Zoo
September 19th 2008



3759 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I wish this got more attention. It should be in more people's top 10 for the year.

Good description.

[quote=Crysis]When I was recommended The Serpent’s Manifolds[/quote]
:thumb:

Zoo
September 19th 2008



3759 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

And I must thank you for bringing some credibility to one of my recommendations. I am indebted.

Crysis, I think you would really enjoy Desire. Great atmospheric, piano-driven doom metal. They were on my last list which I doubt you saw.

PayneTiger777
September 19th 2008



4388 Comments


ZooYorker, I offered you a trade in Fantasy Football. I won't have time to check my teams on Sunday because I am going to the Giant game.

As for this review....nice.

AngelPhoenix
September 19th 2008



2764 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Heard one track off their myspace. Two words...

Bad


Ass...

Uber excellent review Crysis

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
September 19th 2008



16263 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Many thanks all! And yes, I owe you a lot Zoo for showing me this, thanks dude! I'll look into that band as well.

This is one of those albums which is so very close to a 5.

Digging: Ulver - Bergtatt

Essence
September 19th 2008



3578 Comments


I asked, and my prayers were heard!

AngelPhoenix
September 19th 2008



2764 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yo, is it just me, or has a good 20-40% of the awesome metal that sputnikers have been picking up is stuff that Zoo found...

Hawks
September 19th 2008



34620 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I was actually going to get this a while ago, but my computer needed to be fixed and by the time I got it back I completely forgot about this.

Digging: Equilibrium - Erdentempel

fireaboveicebelow
September 19th 2008



6837 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Yo, is it just me, or has a good 20-40% of the awesome metal that sputnikers have been picking up is stuff that Zoo found...
technically, but half the stuff on his or jrowa's or crimson's lists I've already got, and I'm pretty sure other people do too. so thanks to them other people know about them...grr

Zoo
September 19th 2008



3759 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Just as long as good music is heard and not ignored, I'm happy.
[quote=AngelPhoenix]Yo, is it just me, or has a good 20-40% of the awesome metal that sputnikers have been picking up is stuff that Zoo found...[/quote]
And yes, there are plenty of people that contribute and shed some light on the undiscovered jewels (jrowa and crimson are perfect examples). But I do appreciate the acknowledgment a lot. Thank you.

rasputin
September 19th 2008



14517 Comments


Good review, and new metal on the site is mostly a product of Zoo or jrowa's searching. I'm sort of off metal recently so I probably won't check this out, not for now at least.

beans
September 20th 2008



2332 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

amazing review as always man. this sounds good, and i will def check it out
thanks for the continued quality material.
:chug:

P13
September 20th 2008



1327 Comments


The search for new and interesting music is slowly grinding to a halt for me, as much as I hate to say it.

man that sucks
Great review, although I never liked black metal

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
September 20th 2008



16263 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

The first sentence is meant to show how hard it is for me to find new shit to listen to that's quality, not the fact that I don't want new music lol.

P13
September 20th 2008



1327 Comments


Yeah, that's what I was thinking. Most new bands are uninteresting and old band's new albums are sub par



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