Review Summary: Cessation marks the beginning of something very exciting for fans of extreme metal, and one can only hope that they will continue to progress from the excellent atmosphere and brutality on display here.
It’s hard to describe how successful Cessation
is as an album in light of how much ground it covers in just six tracks. Though Dead in the Manger label themselves a blackened grindcore band, the pacing and structure of the album allows for so many more influences to come to fruition. Trem-picked guitars give way to hypnotic post metal leanings, and the desperate howls of the vocalist tie it all together with immense passion. Perhaps the most telling thing about the band is the fact that the members refuse to be identified, and that lack of identity forces the listener to judge the music on its merits alone. No gimmicks, no image for kids to hold onto, just simply a band that plays punishing, vicious music.
One of the best aspects of Cessation
is the fact that a surprising amount of melody exists on the record. Of course, that doesn’t mean that melody impedes the heavier aspects of the songwriting; rather, it bolsters the tracks in a way that sets them apart from any other release thus far in 2015. The meandering clean guitar in the beginning of “Part I” transitions perfectly into the stop-start sledgehammer-like heaviness before moving to a full-on black metal section. The sheer musical maneuvering needed to pull all of this off in a three minute track is immense, but Dead in the Manger completes the task with ease. And they manage to do it over and over again on Cessation
; it’s a focus on the small details that affect the overall sound of the album so positively. The slow-burning buildup to the monolithic conclusion of “Part III” works so well because of the fact that it’s sandwiched between two of the fastest and most immediate songs on the record. It’s simply a very unique formula where the band has seemingly made a conscious decision to let the need of the songwriting dictate where the song itself was taken. The somber introduction on “Part V” builds up to a demented vocal performance, replete with messy distortion. The transitions are so natural that Cessation
is enjoyable from start to finish.
From the quiet beginning of the album to the militaristic drums that end the album on “Part VI” (an absolute album highlight), Dead in the Manger keep the listener enthralled. While it is indeed genre-bending, it’s even more encouraging that the band itself seems to have the right idea about what’s most important here: a singular focus on pushing themselves as musicians. Cessation
marks the beginning of something very exciting for fans of extreme metal, and one can only hope that they will continue to progress from the excellent atmosphere and brutality on display here.