Saturday, August 6, 2016
Manuscriptum begins with "Insomnia," which has a traditional Gothic music entrance before mixing with doom metal. Initially, it has a rather grand sound, complete with violin, but once the vocals kick in, it becomes something of a mixed bag, as while the clean vocals are distinct and well done, the growls have a harder time establishing itself. Musically, it's fairly well done except for the end, where it just ends abruptly. "Drown in My Shade" clearly shows that going with the throaty clean vocals are the way to go, as they prove to be strong on the album. However, the growls begin to gain an identity, as they appear to be done so with more assertion. "The intro to "Theatre of Shadows" starts off well, but it becomes a mess almost as soon as the vocals kick in, as the growls just simply don't push themselves above the music. The idea of strong starts with disappointing endings becomes a recurring theme on Manuscriptum almost to the point that one begins to expect it for the entire album. In many ways, it's a wasted opportunity to truly show the musical talent that the band has, as the vocals are decent and the music is generally above average when all the elements are in play. The problem lies in the songwriting ability, as it comes off as a jumbled mess at times.
Heaven Grey is a fairly good band when they are focused. However, as evidenced on Manuscriptum, that is not always the case, as despite the above average music ability, the songs don't come together often enough and the general inability to end songs on a smoother note make it something of a chore to get through the album. You can do worse than Manuscriptum, but you can also do better.