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4 stars A big step for progressive thrash metal, a giant leap for Anacrusis!

In my review on Anacrusis' second album "Reason" I concluded that the band surely did have a lot of potential but that the band hadn't yet found the "sound" they were striving for. "Manic Impressions" was the album next in line. Was this the improvement they were looking for?

1) Paint A Picture [8/10]
2) I Love The World [New Model Army cover] [7/10]
3) Something Real [7/10]
4) Dream Again [6/10]
5) Explained Away [6/10]
6) Still Black [7/10]
7) What You Became [6/10]
8) Our Reunion [7/10] 9) Idle Hours [8/10] 10) Far Too Long [7/10]

Well, on their third album Anacrusis surpassed themselfes. Lise (Hibou) did write the biography on Anacrusis' PA band page. There she states that "Nearly every song on "Manic Impressions" has at least one memorable vocal melody to go along with a killer riff.". Well, I couldn't agree more. This album is indeed loaded with killer riffs. One of the biggest improvements on this album is however the production. While their preceeding album did have a very poor ("suffocating"?) production (that almost "killed" the already present musicianship), the production on "Manic Impressions" is much more open and clear. Finally I have to make Kenn Nardi a big compliment for his vocals. He sure did make a lot of progression compared to his vocals on "Reason", which weren't up to par because of his limited vocal range (I think Kenn Nardi is the first one to agree on that as can be read on the band's official web pages).
The highlight for me is the song "Idle Hours". It starts of as a quiet song with a clean guitar piece but than quickly turns into a break and riff heaven. I recommand this album to each adventurous prog (metal) fan and consider it an excellent addition to any prog music collection.

Album rating: 65% = 4 stars

Report this review (#115698)
Posted Tuesday, March 20, 2007 | Review Permalink
4 stars Anacrusis this techno trash band from USA did a great job here. From the beggining you find killer riffs, stunning solos, an avalanche of drums and a powerful bass. Every musicians take the skills to the limit and the result is a 3.5 album rounded to 4, one of the best albums in metal. My fav piece is Explained Away, the rest are also good. All in all a compact album that fits every prog metal fans. This band needs more than 4 ratings here on PA, because they are among the best in metal.
Report this review (#141486)
Posted Tuesday, October 2, 2007 | Review Permalink
Easy Livin
Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
2 stars Far too long

"Manic impressions" was released in 1991, just a year after "Reasons", but it represents a major development in the history of the band. Drummer Mike Owen left after "Reasons", to be replaced by friend of the band Chad Smith. A deal was done with Metal Blade records for the release of the album, which should have meant the avoidance of the circumstances which led to the hurried nature of recordings for the first two albums. That at least was the theory. In the end, there was the by now customary panic to finish the recording and mixing in the time available.

With "Manic impressions", Anacrusis find their true identity. The songs are noticeably more complex, with strong riffs and thrash metal roots. The naivety and raw nature of the first two albums is replaced by significantly better production and recording techniques.

This is all very well, but does it make for a better album? Well, sadly for me it does not. Here, the vocals are far less melodic, at times almost grunted, while the guitar thrashing is repetitive and uninteresting. I find that it was in fact the naïve and unfocused nature of the first two albums which made them alluring. Here, there is no question that a focus has been found, but it simply captures a style and sound I find decidedly unappealing. There are some decent passages, such as the switch on "Paint a picture" or "Far too long" to a softer, acoustically based section but all too soon the yapping vocals return.

Even the fine guitar playing which adorned the previous albums seems suppressed here, replaced by pounding riffs instead. There is the occasional surprise to be had. The cover of New model Army's "I love the world" has a very pop orientated chorus, quite out of context with the rest of the album and indeed the track.

In all, an album only for those who know what to expect. This will appeal only to those with a strong appetite for concentrated thrash metal. In prog terms, I can find little here of real value.

Report this review (#173105)
Posted Friday, June 6, 2008 | Review Permalink
Honorary Collaborator
2 stars Manic Impressions is the third studio album from metal act Anacrusis. Itīs safe to say that I havenīt been overjoyed with the first two albums from Anacrusis: Suffering Hour (1988) and Reason (1990). In fact I think both of those albums are weak attempts at playing technical thrash metal. Iīve read much about Anacrusis through the years and quite frankly I couldnīt understand what the fuzz was all about after listening to those two albums. But I never give up on a band before Iīve heard everything they have to offer and two out of the three current reviews of Manic Impressions are pretty enthusiastic, so I decided to review the album.

The music has definitely grown since Reason and there are actually parts that I find enjoyable on the album. The style is still technical thrash metal which is very rooted in the eighties version of that genre. Vocalist Kenn Nardi has a very weak and strange vocal style and it hasnīt gotten any better on Manic Impressions. He even tries some clean vocals on the New Model Army Cover song I Love the World and it just doesnīt work. Even though the thrash metal riffing is mostly generic and forgettable there are some powerful sections here and there that saves the album. The acoustic parts that occur in some songs are also good for the diversity but not very impressive in themselves.

The musicianship is very good, but good musicians donīt always make great composers and that īs exactly the problem with Anacrusis IMO. They might know how to play technically difficult things, but their songs are inconsistent and poorly written.

The production is excellent and because of the great production I almost gave the album more than it deserved.

Out of the first three albums from Anacrusis this one is definitely the most listenable, but that doesnīt make it good in my book. Thrash metal with progressive leanings should actually be right down my alley, but when itīs delivered this weakly Iīm not impressed. 2 stars and a recommendation to look elsewhere for technical thrash metal. And donīt let anyone tell you this sounds anything like Voivod. Thatīs blasphemy to my ears.

Report this review (#195214)
Posted Saturday, December 27, 2008 | Review Permalink
2 stars The Anacrusis albums has been gathering dust in my collection until I found out about their inclusion in ProgArchives. Something that came as a big surprise to me. So my disdain of their albums has been wrong all the way, then. (???)

Nope. Anacrusis does a blend of technical thrash, hardcore and emo metal on this album. The songs here are nothing special. The charm factor is not particular great either. The vocals are a bit special and gives Anacrusis their own identity. The rest of the band is also a tight unit.

The songs on this album seems a bit more worked through and matured than the songs from their first two albums. This album is certainly pretty mellow. The quality though is not particular good and I do not rate this album. Which at the end of the day may be down to personal preferences. This is not an album for me.

2.5 stars

Report this review (#291965)
Posted Monday, July 26, 2010 | Review Permalink

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