MANIC ABRAXAS "Foreign Winds"

By Dr. Abner Mality

There is a theory that the most isolated areas produce the most original and unpredictable music. Well, MANIC ABRAXAS from the unlikely locale of Bangor, Maine are here to prove that theory correct. This trio have come up with a sound that is heavy, raw and extremely unique on "Foreign Winds".

The album is pretty brief and composed of seven songs, each one of which is full of quirks and has its own personality. Listening to this the first time through is an adventure! The band is heavy but in no way can be called a typical death, black or thrash metal band. There is something unique about MANIC ABRAXAS which goes back to the earliest days of punk and metal, when there were no clear cut rules. For example, first song "Red Camo Rock" barrels along with a meaty sound thats like CELTIC FROST gone D-beat punk, complete with apish grunts and "Oooghs". An album full of tracks like this would have been cool, but the band do not stay in that lane. "Onyxsphere" is super crunchy and punkish, like HIGH ON FIRE but with some clean, robotic vocals mixed with the rougher growls. MANIC ABRAXAS uses a number of vocal styles on "Foreign Winds", some quite surprising.

"I Tobliaki" has more primitive crushing riffs but mixed with watery lead guitar and some very Goth vocals. I detect quirkiness in the band that extends from RUDIMENTARY PENI to BLUE OYSTER CULT, if you can believe it. The title track throws in weird synth undertones and church organ effects into a doomy framework...shades of TYPE O NEGATIVE. On "Canonized", there's an unmistakable DANZIG approach, especially to the almost country music sounding spoken vocals. Female vocals pop up on "Domerunner" and the album ends with the powerful gallop of "Black Destrier", which has some amazingly cool slide guitar soloing that blew my mind.

It's quite a trip, but never overbearing and the songs are easy to get into. Bands have lost the knack of varied albums with tons of quirks and personality....well, most bands except MANIC ABRAXAS. This is a real sleeper album and highly recommended.