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These Are They - "Who Manifest" (CD/EP)

These Are They - "Who Manifest" CD/EP cover image

"Who Manifest" track listing:

01. The Indweller (6:47)
02. In The Halls Of Waverly (6:12)
03. Birthright Of The Saturnine (7:18)

Reviewed by on July 20, 2009

"“Who Manifest” displays a lot of potential from These Are They that hopefully will be fully realized on their forth-coming debut album."

These Are They is a side-project of Novembers Doom vocalist Paul Kuhr, featuring drummer Sasha Horn, former Novembers Doom guitarist Stephen Nicholson, and bassist Wiley Wells of Earthen fame. Unlike his main band, These Are They is more in the vein of early 90s death metal, with the occasional clean vocals and slower guitar work bringing a doom-ish atmosphere to the proceedings. While the band is releasing a full-length LP this fall, they recently put out a three song EP, “Who Manifest,” giving a small taste of what it to come in the near future.

The three tracks are lengthy, each clocking in around the six-minute mark. They aren’t as clear-cut as most death metal tends to be, trailing off from the dark and heavy into moments of clarity and self-reflection. The length of the songs both benefits and hinders “Who Manifest.” While giving songs room to breathe and stretch creatively, it also tones down the intensity brought about during the more aggressive sections. “The Indweller” has a mid-paced, Obituary-style groove to it that floors the listener, but then the clean vocals come in and ruin the whole vibe. The execution isn’t the issue, but the placement in the context of the rest of the song. The use of clean vocals is something that These Are They would be best to lessen in the near future.

There are also long melodic breaks in each song that seem unnecessary. There are great riffs scattered throughout “Who Manifest,” but the songs could have been cut by a minute or two and still retain the sonic impact the band seemed to be going for. The only number that isn’t hindered by this is closer “Birthright Of The Saturnine.” A solemn ending, slow and lumbering, the track only picks up momentum half-way through for a brief instant, but mainly stays in a doom region. While sounding like a B-side from “Amid Its Hallowed Mirth,” the last track turns out to be the strongest one on “Who Manifest.”

“Who Manifest” displays a lot of potential from These Are They that hopefully will be fully realized on their forth-coming debut album. The instrumental work is great, especially from Nicholson, who adds in several tasteful leads to his barrage of solid riffs. The band excels at the speedier material, where the obvious influence of early death metal is evident. It’s not that the doom-ish sound is a negative quality to their sound; however, other than the fantastic closer, it largely seems unnecessary in the grand scheme of things. A short, quick burst of energy is what would make their first LP a sight to behold. “Who Manifest” is a delicious appetizer that gives hope for a grand feast of an entrée later this year.

Highs: Kuhr's vocals, the band's sound is a throwback to early death metal, strong instrumental work

Lows: Songs could have been trimmed down, clean vocals were unnecessary,

Bottom line: "Who Manifest" is a decent EP that is hopefully a prelude to something greater in the near future.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)