Single: The Expressionless
They are all around you—writhing in their own filth, breeding in their own excrement and swimming in nothing but sewage. Nameless, faceless, soulless entities, they surround you—and you don’t know why, but you find them absolutely disgusting. No matter where you go, no matter how blatantly you ignore them nor how frantically you attempt to escape them, they follow—whispering, crooning, inciting you to do only one thing: kill. As days turn to weeks, which morph into months and transgress into years, the urges get stronger and more bewildering. The snakes which once seemed to pass around you harmlessly now seem to persuade your every thought. These “snakes,” as it turns out, are not snakes at all—they are not animals of any kind. No flesh. No blood. These are your thoughts, and they will haunt you until the very day you die.
This same bitterness, hatred and pure, relentless evil is the very power behind the latest single, “The Expressionless” by Ohio based heavy musicians Manipulator. Packed with pound after pound of progression from their breakout (and already excellent) self-titled EP, “The Expressionless” is every decibel the sound of pure, relentless anger needed to put sin in Cincinnati.
The single begins with drums that pound as hard and pulse as quickly as an eviscerated, still-beating human heart. They kick the song off, accompanied by a grooving, gyrating riff which is slightly reminiscent of the Manipulator we know and love. However, quickly, the groove takes on a more technical and riff-driven atmosphere, as the percussion picks up the pace and starts to prod and poke at the listener’s sanity. Finally, the vocals send the song into a state of full-blown aggression. With a much more varied range and infinitely more dynamic and intricate layering and lyricism, Manipulator’s greatest single advancement can be found here. “The Expressionless” is home to just about every vocal style in the book—from shrill, high-pitched yells to low, sinister growls, the vocals are dynamic and fit the mood of the song as it progresses from irked to a full-blown state of malevolence. The beauty of “The Expressionless” is just that: it is capable of using a variety of different vocal styles over instrumentation which varies from straightforward and heavy to technical and innovative to paint the entire spectrum of human anger.
Manipulator are able to take the bitterness and hatred from all aspects of the world surrounding them and put it into a three-and-a-half minute long song which the listener won’t want to stop listening to. Whether it’s the incredible shifts from ambient to acidic guitar, punchy percussion or dynamic and bi-polar vocals, something (if not everything) in the track will wind its way inside the listener’s head and urge them to kill.
For Fans Of: Gift Giver, Immoralist, Sworn In, Forsaken, Black Tongue
By: Connor Welsh