|April 3rd, 2023
|Santa Diabla, Fucking Kill Records
These are the best days of the year. There is a release you’ve eagerly been waiting for for weeks or months, yet the release is still quite far away. Out of the blue, you scroll through your Instagram feed and see that the band received their physical copies of their latest release more than a month earlier. When being able, why not just drop the album without any bigger announcement? You think that stuff like this doesn’t happen? Well then you clearly missed the release of Manøver’s latest EP Taken, that took you by surprise (Pun intended)!
Essential matters first, though. Manøver is a 3-member Crust outfit heading from the lands of Münster. Having stirred up the masses with their debut EP Død in early 2020 and their following EP Raid in late 2021, this trio comes back with another strike that is certainly going to spice up your expectations. Their last release Raid already came on tape via Santa Diabla, which is going to be the same for the EP Taken as well. Additionally, though, we are now also able to get our hands on a vinyl copy by the mighty Fucking Kill Records that was released already.
This EP follows the basis of the previous EPs and is set in the lose framework of war scenarios as before. On Taken, though, it feels as if the horrors of war are presented from a subjective perspective of a person. Especially when reading the chronological order of the song titles, it feels as if the narrative can be inferred already. First being lost in the “Trench”, which might be an allusion at WW I (differing from the previous EP Raid), then having been “Taken” (by surprise) via ambush only to be caught up in a “Battle”. Eventually having been “Encircled,” “Dehumanized” and facing the “Execution Commando.” The atrocities of war conveyed with the framework of the subject-matter itself.
When first listening into Taken, you immediately get the impression that there is a broad genre mix that is going to hit you. Having read beforehand that we are going to meet a Crust outfit and then listening into the first tones of this EP already shows you that there is a strong love for Death Metal. Starting off with “Trench” already, especially the sound of this EP is something that got stuck in my head. Although the general basis of this release certainly moves somewhere in the spheres of Crust, the production is fully submerged in a Death Metal tone. Having switched from Liquid Aether Studios to the Tonmeisterei, the different nuance is very present and underlines the sound of the band damn well.
When entering “Trench,” you are welcomed by a very doomy sequence that leads you towards a slower Death Metal-ish episode and then crushes into the Crust / almost Grind tone you waited for. Chunky riffs on heavily distorted guitars are underlined by a strong bass and a massively highlighted drum tone. Thinking of fellow Tonmeisterei customers Minenfeld and their debut release The Great Adventure, the opening of “Taken” has me somewhat look into that direction. Manøver however utilize this tone very differently with their D-Beat driven playstyle. On top of that, Malte’s vocals pierce through the sound reminding of the seminal van Drunen tone with a higher outburst.
On these 6 tracks that you are going to approach on Taken, Manøver successfully manage to dive into different tones with their personal sound. Rotating between Sludge, Doom Death, Death Metal, Crust and Grind, the back and forth on this EP is going to uphold your attention from front to back. These different variations of styles clearly underline what is happening on this EP. Setting up a doom tone when entering the “Trench” opens up a huge soundscape. On “Battle” for example, the back and forth between groove and grind seems to represent a possible fight that is going on. When having been “Encircled,” the sludge tone that opens this track up has you entirely trapped.
All in all, this is a very convincing EP taking its place in the row right next to the aforementioned releases. If Manøver is still no name to you, then shame on you in the first place. With this EP, this trio marked their spot in the German underground Metal / Punk scene the latest. After three strong Eps, I just can’t wait to eventually arrive at the full-length debut and see what those guys from Münster are going to deliver.