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Review: Manitou - The Mad Moon Rising
The Mad Moon Rising

Label: Firebox Records
Year released: 2004
Duration: 63:49
Tracks: 12
Genre: Progressive Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: October 10, 2006
Reviewed by: Lars Christiansen
Readers Rating
The Mad Moon Rising

Rated 3.6/5 (72%) (5 Votes)

This Finnish five-piece includes a couple of members of melodic death metal outfit Omnium Gatherum in their ranks, although you can't hear that in their sound whatsoever. In fact, Manitou play a reasonably enjoyable mixture of hard rock, progressive rock and traditional heavy metal that doesn't at all sound at all cheesy or over the top. Taking their influences from the likes of Queensryche, Dream Theatre, Annihilator and even Dio at times, 'The Mad Moon Rising' is the official re-issue of the bands debut album which comes inclusive of three bonus tracks which have been compiled from the cream of the band's demos.

The album was originally released on the now defunct Rage of Achilles records to much praise in 2004, hence being re-issued here after signing with Firebox for a multiple album deal. As for the music, the clean vocals are powerful, but not overly operatic unlike most of the band's in the genre, connecting perfectly to the gritty guitars and solid drum work, and the unobtrusive use of synthesizers adds a fantastic quality along with the modern production giving the overall sound a boost of freshness and setting it apart from the vapid 80's sounding insipidness.

It's not all proggy classic rock though, there are a few really thrashy riffs thrown in for good measure particularly noticeable in 'Machine Mind', again making it stand out head and shoulders above the rest of the scene, and giving it a more metal edge than the sum of their influences. There is even a wonderful folk-like extravagance to some of the albums more delicate 'floaty' ethereal elements which have been thrown into the melting pot, with all the ingredients blending together perfectly. To be completely honest, this isn't the sort of music I typically listen to, but I thoroughly enjoyed the entire duration of the album in all of its elaborate elegance.

The band's mesmerizing song-writing skills, and obvious enthusiastic enjoyment they have playing their own music comes across in abundance, making this a highly worthwhile debut effort which would stand proudly in any true metal heads collection in my opinion. I was pleasantly surprised by this release, after initial cynicism on my part, and the band has garnered a new fan thanks to it.

Other related information on the site
Review: Deadlock (reviewed by Lars Christiansen)
Review: The Mad Moon Rising (reviewed by Ktb)
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