Manning - A Matter Of Life & Death (The Journal Of Abel Mann)

Year of Release: 2004
Label: ProgRock Records
Catalog Number: PRR138
Format: CD
Total Time: 53:54:00

In a time when metal seems to dominate - we are almost flooded with all kinds of prog, power and gothic metal acts - progressive rock seems to be a bit snowed under. Fortunately there are artists that remain faithful to their music and bring a refreshing sound. Guy Manning is such an artist. Manning is more like a singer/songwriter and already has five albums on his name. Recently he joined the prog rock supergroup The Tangent, but that notwithstanding we can enjoy his sixth solo album: A Matter Of Life And Death (The Journal Of Abel Mann).

With this album, he goes back to his first album, Tall Stories For Small Children, where he introduced the character Abel Mann. The story Manning tells is not too happy and he knows how to translate this dark atmosphere to music very well. Besides the vocals, he plays almost all the instruments, which works out very well. It is a bit of a sober album with some folky passages. I am not too fond of his voice, but the music is played very good, sometimes with simple melodies, then with more complex ones.

My favourite parts are the piano parts, which you find throughout the album. Despite the tragic story, it is a soothing album, which you can really enjoy. No heavy guitars or double bass, but soft melodies and ditto vocals. Together with the great artwork by the hand of Ed Unitsky, which is a bit similar to the artwork of the Fish-era Marillion (Mark Wilkinson), it forms a great package.

Musically, I think is a fantastic album! The various guest musicians make it a pleasure to listen to. Vocals are not my favourites, but that is more a matter of taste then of quality. Someone who is looking for something different will definitely enjoy this album.

The Dream (7:00) / Nobody's Fool (5:11) / Omens (5:26) / The River Of Time (6:36) / Silent Man (4:13) / Falling Down? Rising Up! (7:56) / Life's Disguises (3:25) / Out Of My Life (8:49) / Midnight Sail (5:18)

Guy Manning - vocals, keyboards, 6 and 12 string acoustic guitars, classical guitars, electric guitars, bass, mandolin, drums and percussion
Laura Fowles - sax, vocals
Gareth Harwood - electric guitars, vocals
Rick Ashton - bass, vocals

Special guests:

John Tipping - drums
Ian Fairbairn - fiddle (1, 5)
Neil Harris - modal piano (6), melodica, percussion, vocals
Tim Moon - cello (1)
Andy Tillison - Moog solo (1), keyboards (9)

Tall Stories For Small Children (1999)
The Cure (2000)
Cascade (2001)
The Ragged Curtain (2003)
The View From My Window (2003)
A Matter Of Life & Death (The Journal Of Abel Mann) (2004)
One Small Step (2005)
Anser's Tree (2006)
Songs From The Bilston House (2007)
Number 10 (2009)
Charlestown (2010)
Margaret's Children (2011)

Genre: Progressive Rock

Origin UK

Added: January 17th 2005
Reviewer: Marcel Haster
Artist website:
Hits: 878
Language: english


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