Moraine – Manifest Density (CD)

“Save The Yuppie Breeding Grounds” is the first track off of “Manifest Density”, and it shows that Moraine expects more out of their listeners than most bands. Where the average CD will gradually pick up steam as the tracks roll on, “Manifest Density” immediately showcases intricate arrangements and complex emotions that will require a listener’s full attention. Moraine’s overall approach during this track is hard to decipher, but one can easily hear bits and pieces of progressive metal, nineties-alternative, and even hints of 80s British metal.

The inclusion of strings here provide a perfectly classical side to Moraine that is balanced well by the tribal drums that surround a listener. “Ephebus Amoebus” brings the overall sound of “Manifest Density” over to a more jazz style, but the tempestuous strings turn what is a fairly normal jazz track into a chiaroscuro of light and dark, calm and fury. The band stands alone as one of the few acts that can put forth a contemporary sound without including vocals; the strings and various ancillary elements pop up through “Manifest Density” to tell a narrative as rich as any heard this year. “$9 Pay-per-View Lifetime TV Movie” is the strongest effort on the disc for myself, as the act is able to create in the space of six minutes something epic.

Where tracks like the aforementioned “Save The Yuppie Breeding Grounds” were strong because they were so unexpected, the well-paced “Lifetime TV Movie” can be enjoyed in much the same way as a movie. The distinct segments of the song represent a microcosm of what the entirety of the disc entails, and may be a better introduction to Moraine than any other track to be found on this album. “Middlebrow”, the disc’s final track, provides an authoritative ending that allows listeners to close the book on “Manifest Density”, while ensuring that listeners will eagerly be anticipating anything that Moraine may do in the future, be it touring or subsequent album. Buy a copy of Moraine’s “Manifest Density” and set aside a few hour block where their unique music can properly be appreciated.

Top Tracks: Save The Yuppie Breeding Grounds, $9 Pay-per-View Lifetime TV Movie

Rating: 8.2/10

Moraine – Manifest Density / 2009 Moonjune / 11 Tracks / http://www.moonjune.com / http://www.myspace.com/moraineseattle

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