“Manipulator is mysterious French Death Metal moiling the macabre manipulation at the threshold of the beyond…”

And here we have a nice slab of French death, brought to us by one of Holland’s merchants of death, Soulseller Records. The focus today is on “Voidbound”, Manipulator’s first step into the realm of the compact disc following their two demos “I am Lie” and “Unearthed”. The later demo is also included on this MCD as bonus material bringing this MCD just seconds shy of 50 minutes. Has the time of the reasonably priced compact disc once again hit us?

“Voidbound” falls under the RetroDeath which in most cases these days means “let’s do it like the Swedish used to do it back in 1990”, “Projections of a Stained Mind” included in the starter kit. Manipulator has thrown something extra in the basket being a cover of Darkthrone’s timeless classic “Cromlech”. The definition of dark and Satanic Death Metal right there. The presence of that cover alone should elevate the album a bit above the rest, managing at least to put it on the top of the pile of the New Wave of Non-Swedish Swedish Death Metal, right?

In a way, yes, but it’s not because of the cover. It’s because this album isn’t a complete carbon copy of what once was. While paying homage to the old gods the band makes it’s own presence known, which is something a lot of bands playing this style seem to forget all caught up in “creating that special aura” Death Metal used to have. Death Metal didn’t have a special aura, it has one, and it doesn’t matter who you copy, if you can’t find it it will show.

An older version of Massgraves, the second song on Voidbound, can be found here.

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