Thursday, August 12, 2010

M.A.N.: Peacenemy (2008) Review

I first heard of Sweden's M.A.N. in a Decibel review of their latest, Massive Audio Nerve. It piqued my curiosity because they said it was like a combination of Meshuggah and Static-X. They meant that to be half compliment and half insult, but I love both bands. I couldn't find the new album right away, but I picked up their last one, Peacenemy.

The sound is definitely a mix of Static-X, Mudvayne, and Drowning Pool, but with a technical side to it that draws comparisons to Meshuggah. I never thought I'd hear nu metal out of Sweden, but that's what we have here. I also never thought I'd be saying this, but they've started a new genre: technical nu metal. Bizarre.

Vocals are handled by Tony Jelencovich, a former touring vocalist for Danish industrial groove metallers Mnemic. He is quite skillful, and has the kind of charisma it takes to carry a nu metal band (it's usually all about the frontman in that genre). But even with an average vocalist, this music could hold up. They have the industrial backdrops to everything, sure, but they also have some really unusual rhythms, especially on album standout "Hacker Sapiens". It's very detuned stuff, too, as you might expect. The guitarist apparently uses homemade guitars--on this album, an 11-string, though I'm not sure you'd notice but for the fact it forces him to write the music a certain way. Then again, maybe that's where some of the heaviness comes from, too.

The Verdict: It's not a perfect album, by any means, but I'm going to keep my eyes out for the new one (the track I've heard is even more technical). Is nu metal coming back, and from the unlikely source that is Scandinavia? Probably not, but it wouldn't hurt to have a little bit now and then, if it sounds like this. I give Peacenemy 3.5 out of 5 stars.

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