"Vilosophe" is a real head wrecker of an album, or at least it was for me who would not have expected to be landed with something as strange as this. MANES hail from Norway and play a kind of (no not Black Metal) Avant-Garde Industrial Gothic Rock/Metal which at first sounds very strange and actually really rubbish.
The longer is tried to digest this album the stranger and more frustrating it became. The obvious KATATONIA influences sound great when the guitar riffs and moody vocals are allowed to shine through the annoying industrial techno noise. The guitar riffs are fantastic, melancholic and simple and the repetition of them offers a fantastic hypnotic ambience where you can loose yourself. Around the four minute mark of "Diving With Your Hands Bound" is a perfect example of this but unfortunately the effect is ruined by rubbish synth samples.
"White Devil Black Shroud" for me was the most atmospheric and impressive track on this album and I thoroughly enjoyed getting lost in its repetitive depression. Vocally however this track shows how this band can make and break a song as the vocals are often well used and placed yet can also sound horribly Ozzy like and out of place.
Track 4 also opens up very well with nice clean riffing and vocals before (for this first time) using the Industrial influences well in a great drum line as the distortion kicks in. However by this stage in the album I am getting rather bored as influences such as newer RADIOHEAD start to shine through and the band become predictable and unadventurous and the listening experience becomes tedious.
Where the Rock instruments are allowed to stand alone this album can be very enjoyable but the over abundance of Industrial & Techno influences really kill what potentially are good Gothic Rock/Metal tracks. This listening experience is very frustrating as you just want to hear what really could (and should) be done with some of those great atmospheric riffs and lead lines.
I think I'll avoid listening to this again and I'd recommend that you pass it by too unless this is really your thing. Personally I find nothing of interest here as anything of potential gets thoroughly killed off. (Online June 25, 2003)