The Chronicles Of Manimal And Samara – The Prophet (Single)
Release Date: 26.11.21
Running Time: 3:25
Review by Dark Juan
Greetings, younglings! It is I, the puissant and mighty Dark Juan, and I have been busily doing man stuff, now that the rib that one of the young gentlemen I wrangle broke has now finally started healing properly. To be fair I did compound the healing time by falling down the main staircase in Dark Juan Terrace, and laid in the hall cursing every single manifestation of deity in humankind’s galactic eyeblink of existence whilst being trampled by the Smellhounds. Such is the banality of life in wintery Yorkshire. Tomorrow will be composed of mainly watching YouTube videos on how to fix the mechanism for toilet flushes, because I am that fucking metal.
Also, fucking £17 for a hinge cutting drill bit?!? If I wanted to be fucked that hard I’d head to Canal Street in Manchester in a spangly frock and no pants.
Thankfully, we have London-based prog master and mistress, Andrea Papi and Daphne Ang, otherwise known as The Chronicles Of Manimal And Samara, to distract me from my Northern tight-arse outrage at the cost of DIY equipment, with their very latest single ‘The Prophet.’ And they have managed to shoehorn an entire story into three minutes and twenty-five seconds…
Neatly conflating the Sylvia Plath penned (of particular note to this Northern herbert, as she was married to Ted Hughes, Poet Laureate, of Mytholmroyd, not twenty minutes away from where I am currently ensconced, and she is buried at Heptonstall, in company with King David, the Cragg Vale coiner) poem “Lady Lazarus”, and the current enthusiasm of first world militaries for unmanned and optionally-manned weapons platforms (read as, “Send in the fucking robots controlled by the PlayStation generation to wipe out populations…”) ‘The Prophet’ recounts the tale of an advanced A.I. robot who is “resurrected”, like the biblical Lazarus (through its own eyes), but this time with a destructive super-intelligence, wreaking havoc upon her human creators.
The song starts with gentle guitar, chiming simply, as Daphne Ang’s mellifluous poetry weaves its way sinuously into your consciousness, the stridency and urgency of her voice increasing throughout the verse until the chorus – the impression I take from it is akin to the Artificial Intelligence being activated, and then running through startup routines, and performing system checks upon the body it inhabits. Then the music becomes clinical yet savage, distorted yet complex, as the rage-fuelled roar of Andrea Papi cuts through the spell that has just been weaved – again, I can picture the character of the lyrics testing her onboard combat systems by the simple, logical expedient of slaughtering the laboratory staff around her with absolute machine detachment.
The second verse returns to the simple guitar, yet with the added urgency of bass, denoting the growing power and control the machine has over her weapons and body, as she thinks about how she has been manipulated and touched by the hands of humans, and made aesthetically beautiful when she is destined to destroy everyone on the planet. She ruminates on the fear she sees in the eyes of the lab techs and troopers as she slays them all.
“Gods have mercy, but not I” is a profound line indeed, Daphne delivering it with pathos and an almost machine-like detachment, mirroring the absolute lack of feelings, morals, or any kind of emotion of the A.I. And even the abrupt fade of the song (fading out some superb technical riffing, Tool-like and nodding towards Tesseract with a pulverising, almost martial drumbeat) serves a purpose, to my mind, recalling the rapidly diminishing sounds of combat, as the A.I. methodically exterminates every person in her path whilst escaping from the facility she has been created in, and releasing herself out into the world, to begin her great task.
Yet again, The Chronicles Of Manimal And Samara take the idea of extreme music, turn it inside out, dismantle it, and rebuild it into performance art that is as excoriatingly savage in heaviness as it is in political criticism. This level of intelligence in heavy music is terrifying and gives TCOMAS’ music even more power. With the increase in autonomous and optionally-manned war machines (think MQ-9 Predators and the like, raining undetected, high explosive death from above, while their operators use them via satellite links an entire continent away), TCOMAS deliver another spectacularly timely warning about just how precarious human life is right now, and how Artificial Intelligence is growing in sophistication all the time.
Perhaps we deserve to be snuffed out by a malevolence of our own creation.
The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System has been sat here processing this song for nearly an hour now and is desperately trying to find some kind of flaw with it, because every review I have written about The Chronicles Of Manimal And Samara has resulted in a full on 10/10 score. Fuck it. This one has too. TCOMAS are THE most important British-based band of the past ten years. Their uniqueness is unparalleled, and their power unquestionable.
Daphne Ang (Samara) – Vocals, Lyrics, Piano
Andrea Papi (Manimal) – Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, Vocals
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