Manipulation - Manipulation (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Manipulation (2013)

Sorry State Records

Manipulation's debut album delivers eleven tracks of intense and frantic hardcore that is relentless from start to finish. In a little over sixteen minutes, there is absolutely no let-up in any way, shape or form in the absolute pummelling that is produced. Not a hint of a breath is taken as Manipulation go out to crush everything in its way.

That might make Manipulation seem somewhat one-dimensional and in all honesty, it is: The favoured approach is direct and fast (tempos do vary on occasions, but not by much) and packed with venom. But the format works, so who needs a second dimension? The guitars have a buzzsaw quality that lend themselves to a speedy performance. The rhythm section is probably drums and bass, despite it sounding like a jackhammer. The vocals have an almost deranged quality to them.

Ultimately, it is the quality of the recording and the brevity of these songs that prevent this consistent approach from becoming stale. The production allows for a thick sound that still retains a crispness. No muddiness, and nothing is lost in the mix. It is almost a blur, really, especially in a digital format without having to turn over the record.

As it befits music of this genre, the song titles add to the whole sense of anger and/or despair. Examples include the likes of "Acid Burn," "Brain Death," "Bad Blood" and "Decay," although all tracks contain a palpable sense of passion that emanates through the speakers. The strongest track on Manipulation is also the longest, with "Parts and Labour" clocking in at 2:06 and full of snarling vocals and a particularly evil-sounding guitar sound.