Review Summary: An extremely good release, from a talented but often overlooked band.
Released just before grunge exploded into existence, this is one of many thrash albums of the early 90's that are often overlooked and never given a fair shake. For those of you who have grown tired of basic thrash, then you have just may have found the one album to restore your faith in the genre. The music contained within this album is of a different breed of thrash metal. This band is often regarded as one of the first progressive thrash bands, due to their catchy choruses and unconventional song structures. The band even incorporated keyboards into their later work.
Hailing from St. Louis Missouri, the band formed in 1986, and this particular album was released in 1991. The music found on "Manic Impressions" varies from track to track. The music exhibits many different moods throughout the album. Many of the tracks are very heavy and menacing such as "Paint a Picture" and "Still Black", and some tracks such as "Something Real" and "Explained Away" come off as very dark and melancholy, but the band also has lots of energy and fun on tracks like the incredibly cool "Our Reunion" and the epic cover, "I love the World". The overall feeling of this album is very aggressive and melodic. Many songs also have courses that will undoubtedly get stuck in your head. The courses do a great job of complimenting each song and making it unique and memorable.
The vocalist, Kenn Nardi, has great range with his voice. He can go from low and scathing, to high pitched screams within seconds. He also has a very nice singing voice as is evident in "I Love the World" and many other tracks, and therefore is probably one of the most well-rounded vocalists from back in the day. Kenn also shares guitar duties with Kevin Heidbreder and is the key songwriter for the group.
The guitars for this album show a lot of focus and direction. Each riff and guitar solo sounds unique and is skillfully executed. Many of the guitar parts are very complicated and extensively hard to play, so the band exhibits a bit of a technical side in this particular department.
On bass we have John Emery. The bass is very audible and present thanks to the production of the album. It has a very groovy feel to it and does nothing but compliment the already stellar music. The bass can be heard throughout the album, and stands out in "Paint a Picture", "Idle Hours" and "Far Too Long".
The Drums are the real gem here. The band enlisted the help of a man named Chad Smith, (not RHCP) and Chad shows his talents more than anyone else. Kenn Nardi wrote some very hard and intricate drum patterns for Chad and he plays them like an expert. Very fast and complex drumming, who can argue with that? Chad does a perfect job of keeping everything together and tight.
Sadly, Manic Impressions was way before its time, and perhaps that's why this band never got the attention they deserved. This album is underrated, and under appreciated. But only you can determine that for yourself. The band has their entire discography up for grabs free of charge at their website. Do yourself a favor and listen to this band if you haven't already. This album is perfect for fans of progressive metal, and thrash.
- Something Real
- Dream Again
- Our Reunion
- I Love the World
Kenn Nardi - vocals, guitars
Kevin Heidbreder - guitars
John Emery - bass
Chad Smith - drums
Produced by Kenn Nardi
Recorded: January-February 1991
Metal Blade Records