Elegy - Manifestation Of Fear


Year of Release: 1998
Label: Noise/T & T Records
Catalog Number: TT 0036-2ux
Format: CD
Total Time: 53:03:00

"The following tale depicts the life of a vulnerable child born into a world of poverty and despair. The scene is set in a typical overcrowded and run down industrial city; a haven for the ranks of the unemployed" - Ian Parry

This is what the opening story reads to the new concept disc from Elegy. The fact that it's Elegy performing a concept disc, and the fact the disc is brand new from Elegy means instant purchase for me, without batting an eyelash. Last year's smash disc, State Of Mind was the introduction of Ian Parry to the band (not counting the previous acoustic EP) and what a winner SoM was. However, for those of you looking for State of Mind - Part 2 will be disappointed, and already I've read where people are disappointed with the new disc. Anyone not familiar with anything that Elegy has done previously needs to go back to Lost or Supremacy to see where their roots lie, and why Manifestation Of Fear is a welcomed and normal transition for the band. Elegy is one of the "busiest" bands I've ever listened to. I use the word "busy" to decribe their music as never standing still, always changing many times within the same song, and even when the chorus lines are being played the music continually changes; a very difficult band to follow musically, especially when they had Eduard Hovinga in the band, a high pitched screecher that usually turned most people away from the band because of the inability to absorb the busy music and the schreechy vocals at the same time. Enter Ian Parry and State of Mind. The disc is chock full of warm melodies, thick, punchy guitars like on previous Elegy discs, yet still managing to maintain the trademark Elegy sound and style along the way. This was one of the best surprises of 1997. Enter Manifestation Of Fear.

THE STYLE :

As stated, if you're looking for State of Mind / Part 2, you will be disappointed. However, if you're looking for a combination of old Elegy and recent Elegy, you will be highly rewarded. The band has gone back to the Lost and Supremacy approach that made them who they are, but have also managed to maintain an edge of melodic warmth to keep people following more easily. The music is busy, yet somehow easy to follow and appreciate. The trademark starts and stops are there, but not as plentiful as in the past, but there are certainly more drum parts incorporated to the music, and Elegy still remains one of the premier prog metal bands in the world. People looking for melodies that were originally thought to be missing can look to songs like "Angel Without Wings" or "Master of Deception." These are melodic songs akin to the material found on State of Mind, but again, injected with earlier Elegy stylings.

THE BAND:

Henk Van der Laars has to be one of the most underrated guitarists in metal. To me, he is one of the unsung heroes of prog metal, and his sound his unique. Gone are the twin leads that earmarked earlier Elegy, but in it's place are nice, thick crunchy chords and single leads that still remind of the old days. However, I attribute Henk with making one guitar sound like three playing at the same time. State of Mind was so full and rich with guitar overdubs it was glorious. This time out, the production is a bit different, and the single, crunchy style guitar rules the sound. The bass player, Martin Helmantel, has the dubious task of trying to play along side the mighty Henk, and an amazing job he does at it. How someone can play bass to music like this is nothing short of amazing. Along for the ride is drummer Dirk Bruineberg, who drives the busy music with ease, and I will put this man on the unsung hero list, because Elegy music is some of the most difficult music in prog metal, and the drummer here pulls it off with ease, and it's scary to think that musicians of this caliber go unnoticed throughout the lifespan of a genre. My hat goes off to the player in this band. The keyboards are primarily used for atmospheric background and it works well with the music, making it sound less cold than it might have without it.

THE VOCALS:

To most, Ian Parry is of godly status, and with State of Mind and Manifestation of Fear, he proves why. Ian has a strange tone to his voice, almost like a raspy version of DIO, and in many places on this disc, he comes very close to sounding like the Elf himself. Ian also wrote the entire Manifestation story line and vocal melody lines himself, so he is a very active member in this band. I prefer him to the high pitched Hovinga, whose voice was so high it was difficult to hear him, notwithstanding the tyough productions that kept him from being heard anyway. Ian Parry sings in a lower range, although you'd swear he's been part of the band since the beginning; he is probably the best replacement for a singer that a band has ever undergone with success Usually originalsingers are hard to forget and fans aren't so forgiving to new singers, but in this case it's a most welcome addition and one that I feel has catapulted Elegy into the top ranks of the prog metal heap. Parry also uses lots of overdubs and hearing his voice layered in 2-3 parts is more that pleasing to the ear. Overall, in my opinion, Ian Parry has made a tremendous contribution to the band, and I believe he is responsible for the resurgence of interest in the band and is taking them in even more glorious directions than before.

THE PRODUCTION:

Correct. This does not sound like earlier Elegy discs. Long ago, Elegy discs took on a heavy, thick, muddled production that fans actually started to like and appreciate. The guitars were thick, layered and almost indiscernible because of this. On State of Mind, the production was a bit clearer, but the guitars still maintained that thick richness of earlier Elegy sounds, but no one really minded because of the great music being played. On Manifestation of Fear, things have changed. Suddenly, everything about Elegy becomes clear. The guitars are clean, the vocals can be heard with ease, the bass is clear, and the drums stand out. The production is much more raw and in your face than any previous Elegy disc, and I think fans are still trying to figure out what is going on here. What is happening is that the sound is now where it should be; in your face, clear, raw, natural. It's now evident that Van der Laars is definitely a guitar god. It's clear that Parry is one of the best prog metal singers in the world. It's also good to be hearing the lyrics for once on an Elegy disc. The drums are right up front in the mix as well, and everything is just blended perfectly this time. People are a bit taken back because of all this clarity, and if you constantly play the disc, it really hits you in the face and you wish that every other Elegy disc sounded like this one. My belief has always been to make sure that singers of this caliber are HEARD on discs, not just part of a muddy production. Tommy Newton, who produced this disc, knows this and put Parry right out front leading the way where he should be. The guitars aren't layered as much as they used to,with Henk pulling rhythm and lead duties, but it's now clear as to what his role is musically.The drums are VERY natural sounding, but with that great snare sound that I loveand wish that every prog metal band owned or incorporated. The sound of a tinny snare drum just doesn't do prog music justice, and this is a clear example of how it should be done. The bass and keyboards are placed in the mix perfectly, especially the keyboards, which have been placed just a bit back in the mix to signify the atmospheric place it occupies. Overall, this is a great sounding disc, and it's nice to see Elegy finally getting the sound that they deserve.

THE COMMENTS:

I agree - this is not State of Mind, nor is this early Elegy. However, it is a combination of early Elegy, mixed in with exactly the right amount of melodic warmth, with the great production that the band has deserved these many years. Any Elegy fan will need to own this disc, and anyone who is looking to break into the Elegy camp should either start with this disc or State of Mind. For fans of Russell Allen and Dio, Ian Parry is a good place to invest your ear time in, as he really approaches the style of both of those singers, and certainly is in the same league talent wise. I find this disc to be one of the best surprises of 1998, and I highly recommend it to anyone who is into Elegy, or who is just looking for that next prog metal to blow them away. The talent of the band is now recognized, and it's almost as of the band is finally getting to make their statement after all these years. Manifestation of Fear is a disc that needs to be in every prog metal fan's collection, without a doubt. For those who still can't hear the melodic warmth in the disc, just put on track 11, "Metaphorphosis" and call me in the morning.


Tracklisting:
Unorthodox Methods (5:16) / Frenzy (4:34) / Angel Without Wings (4:45) / Savage Grace (4:58) / Master of Deception (5:26) / Solitary Day (Living in an Ivory Tower) (4:44) / Manifestation of Fear (5:40) / Victim of Circumstance (5:30) / The Forgotten (3:38) / Redemption (Inst) (2:09) / Metamorphosis (6:23)

Musicians:
Henk Van der Laars - guitars
Martin Helmantel - bass
Dirk Bruineberg - drums
Chris Allister - keyboards
Ian Parry - vocals

Discography:
Labyrinth Of Dreams (1993)
Supremacy (1994)
Lost (1995)
Primal Instinct (1996)
State Of Mind (1997)
Manifestation Of Fear (1998)
Forbidden Fruit (2000)
Principles Of Pain (2002)

Genre: Progressive/Power Metal

Origin DE

Added: July 25th 1999
Reviewer: Larry "LarryD" Daglieri

Artist website: www.ianparry.com
Hits: 757
Language: english

  

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