French black metallers Manzer have some big shoes left for them by their fellow countrymen when it comes to black metal. Deathspell Omega and Blut Aus Nord essentially rewrote all those black metal rules, and either Manzer will attempt to follow and fail, or charge their own bloody path for success. ‘Beyond the Iron Portal’ is out now on Legion of Death Records, and brings a dark edge to rampant heavy metal goodness.
Boy do Manzer charge. This is classic first wave black metal mixed with dashes of classic metal showmanship, wrapped within a bloody, barbed wire ferocity. There’s dashes of Mercyful Fate, from the wailing leads of the intro ‘Open the Portal’ straight into the galloping ‘Torment of the Strix’. It’s like we got stuck in 1984 and there’s been nothing since. It’s a fucking awesome trip back in time to when songs were catchy and still necro and true. The insatiable ‘Vesiagal Damnation’ has the most air guitaring solo I’ve heard in ages, and the leads on many of the songs are stunning. I want to single out the intro to ‘890’ as a particular highlight, although the excellently titled ‘Nuclear Necropolis’ pushes it close.
‘Beyond the Iron Portal’ is one of my favourite records this year. The songs are catchy as fuck, the guitar work is awesome and the vintage feel is totally infectious. Fans of early In Solitude, Mercyful Fate and simply great heavy metal with a blackened rawness to it will love this shit. Count me fucking in!