The Chronicles Of Manimal And Samara – Count The Dead Single

Count The Dead Single Cover

The Chronicles Of Manimal And Samara – Count The Dead Single
Self-Released
Release Date: 08/10/2021
Running Time: 03:27
Review by Dark Juan
10/10

Hello, you beautiful people. It is I, Dark Juan and I am pleased to report that after only a couple of hours of unbroken swearing, some cut knuckles and blunt force trauma, the Mighty Gothikpanzer has had its wiper mechanism replaced by your correspondent, and it appears, reasonably able Satanic mechanic. Just in time for a sojourn to Goth Central, otherwise known as Whitby, for a few days. Therefore, I have to write a metric fuckton of reviews before I leave for a well-earned break from wrangling young gentlemen and from the exhortations of our Great Leader, Air Chief Marshal Lord Sir Richard “Master of The Barbed Editorial Comment” Tilley. Don’t think I hadn’t noticed your last quip, you absolute blackguard! Although I was surprised that you hadn’t compared me to Charles Hawtrey, to be fair. Charles Dance, indeed. Remember – A Lannister ALWAYS pays his debts!

So, to business. First, I should thank the old cove that is Rick for allowing me to do this review. Ever-Metal.com doesn’t normally do single reviews, but he has graciously permitted me to do this one. TCOMAS also requested that I write about their new single, personally, and that is a singular honour as far as I am concerned because I hold them in such high esteem. I am doing it because I think that The Chronicles Of Manimal And Samara are one of the most important bands the UK has produced in the past 50 years. They are timely and unique and a voice for the more geopolitically astute among our great metal fraternity and sorority. They are also ridiculously intelligent and refreshingly unconcerned with such trivialities as fitting into genres or having banal lyrical concepts centered around beer, fucking, the occult or drunken occult figures fucking. No, TCOMAS’ horror stories set to music are set in the here and now, and depressingly horrible their stories are. If you haven’t yet got yourself a copy of their debut album “Full Spectrum”, you really should stop reading this, RIGHT NOW, YOU FIEND, and educate yourself before reading on…

‘Count The Dead’ is a fucking FURIOUS song continuing the themes of ‘Love In The Time Of Pestilence’ from “Full Spectrum”, those being worldwide pandemic and global crisis and specifically referencing the COVID-19 epidemic and the (at least) 4 MILLION worldwide deaths from it, and being excoriatingly critical of the responses of world governments and the capitalist classes as they sought to extend power and create profit from a virus unlike any other.

The excoriation is savage. If words were weapons, Daphne Ang would be sharpening her wits on the skulls of her enemies. Daphne’s normally smooth and considered spoken word vocal has a palpable undercurrent of barely contained sorrow and rage, evidenced by the odd harsh syllable or tremble in her normally mellifluous voice during the verses of the song, and that controlled anger is released in explosive fashion on the chorus line by Andrea Papi unleashing the full power of an unconstrained and dangerous roar, not least on the line, “You prosper on fucking LIES!” (Emphasis mine.)

Musically, this song is a more muscular Tool and Mastodon in their proggier moments, and recorded in an unusual time signature. The production is the arctically clear and pure sound I have come to expect from TCOMAS and this is a damned superb heavy metal song, with something for the whole metal family to enjoy somewhere in it. The lyrics are meaningful and pertinent, accurate and could have been taken from my own fucking head, if I had any form of musical talent whatsoever (which I don’t) and the passion with which they are delivered lifts them from mere words and into something that the world could do with taking notice of…

I’ll leave the last word to the band themselves:

“Follow no leader, but leave no man behind.”

Quite!

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System has been blown clear across the other side of the room (much to the chagrin of two Smellhounds at least) by TCOMAS once more bringing the righteous noise. Easily 10/10 for a single that is as metal as metal can be, be it musically or in its political and social consciousness.

Pre-Add/Pre-Save ‘Count The Dead’
https://tcomas.ffm.to/countthedead.ofp

LINE-UP:
Daphne Ang (Samara) – Vocals, Lyrics, Piano
Andrea Papi (Manimal) – Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, Vocals

LINKS:

TCOMAS Promo Pic

Read are EMQ’s with TCOMAS here:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

EMQ’s with THE CHRONICLES OF MANIMAL AND SAMARA

TCOMAS Logo

EMQ’s with THE CHRONICLES OF MANIMAL AND SAMARA

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with the, wonderful and totally unique Camden Town, London based duo, The Chronicles Of Manimal And Samara (TCOMAS). Huge thanks to Daphne Ang and Andrea Papi, for taking part.

What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

Hi, we are The Chronicles of Manimal and Samara.

Daphne: I play the piano and the keyboard, and I provide the vocals and write the lyrics

Andrea: I play the guitar, bass and vocals.

Our first collaboration together was actually in the fine arts. We painted together as ‘ELKYMY’, and made three dimensional paintings inspired by abstract forms and flows in nature. The both of us always had and shared a deep passion and love for music, so we started also making music together.

How did you come up with your band name?

TCOMAS: ‘The Chronicles of Manimal and Samara’ was actually the title of a manga comic series that we developed. We wrote a script and made illustrations of ‘Manimal and Samara’ – which we decided to feature on the cover of our debut single ‘Atoms’. The story is about an awkward schoolgirl who runs away into the jungle to escape from society and the modern world, then meets someone who would change the course of her life forever. We later decided to turn the script into a song, ‘Tcomas S01 E01’.

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

Daphne: I was born and grew up in Singapore. Despite its reputation for being clean and almost sterile, there was a small but really vibrant underground scene of hardcore, punk, ska, and metal which I grew up with. That’s where many of us found a sense of community. Because of the strict censorship laws, many artists and musicians had to find creative ways of expressing ideas and saying things in a way that did not come under the radar of these restrictions. London has been my home for more than 10 years now, and I couldn’t be more at home in Camden Town – the heart of British “Rock ‘n’ Roll. It’s amazing to be right in the epicentre of so many great music venues. One of our songs from our first album is titled after The World’s End pub, where we first met.

The Chronicles of Manimal and Samara – ‘At the Worlds End’
www.open.spotify.com/album/0rHcya6vm0JxCP3JtE9mBR

Andrea: I’m originally from Tuscany (Italy) and there’s always been a strong metal culture there, from Extrema and Death SS to Lacuna Coil, Rhapsody and Linea 77. Now Maneskin is on top of the world. They are not Metal but they are Italians and they are singing in Italian so, bravi!

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

TCOMAS: ‘Count the Dead’ – our first single from our upcoming second studio album, released on the 8th of October. We composed this song as a protest against world leaders, whose negligence and recklessness have resulted in one of the largest ‘avoidable’ losses of lives in generations. The song provokes you to think about the complex issues pertaining to the value of human life – in light of the current pandemic.

The single will be released on 8th of October, you can pre-save it and stream it once it’s released here:
www.tcomas.ffm.to/countthedead

The music video for this track will be released on the 18th of October. Watch the premiere of our video here:
www.youtu.be/JmNDPMdFsaE

Who have been your greatest influences?

It is impossible to list all the names of all our musical influences, but we made a playlist of some of our favourites.
www.open.spotify.com/playlist/3OocDmnyZ9OcCDa8WFLW6m

Daphne: In terms of lyrics and vocal performance, I am very much influenced by theatre and literature, from Ancient Greek theatre to Shakespearean drama, and from Classical Persian poetry to modernist poetry. Carl Jung is a huge inspiration as well.

Andrea: I also am inspired by the musical cultures of the ancient world. These influences can be heard quite distinctly in our upcoming second album “Trust No Leaders”, which we will release in 2022.

What first got you into music?

Daphne: The piano. I started learning classical piano when I was 6, and Beethoven was (and is) my favourite composer. But it was my father who introduced me to the world of Rock and Roll.

Andrea: From 4:07 to 5:10 of ‘Bohemian Rhapsody’ by Queen.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

TCOMAS: Apocalyptica, Kraftwerk, and the Kronos Quartet. And Hans Zimmer

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

Andrea: Probably Download Festival, because it would allow us to play in different countries and cities, especially Sydney so in the time off I can go back surfing the Northern beaches.

Daphne: Woodstock 1969?

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

Andrea: I remember that one time I broke my classic guitar into pieces after playing a show. Later on, someone picked it up and patched it partially back together, framed it, and gave it back to me as a birthday present.

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

Andrea: Music unites people. Politics divides people. Think for yourself, question authority.

Daphne: Create, listen, read, watch, breathe in the art that gives you life and a good reason to fight. Never stop learning. Search your soul, and get to know your unconscious mind. Respect nature.

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

Daphne: Nina Simone and Freddie Mercury.

Andrea: Cliff Burton.

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

Daphne: In terms of the making of it, it’s a form of therapy as it is always cathartic. Yet it is also a means of reckoning – a process that forces you to dig deep into the bowels of your own soul.

Andrea: Music is freedom, the limit is imagination. So, I hate rules.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

TCOMAS: We make music independently, and promote ourselves, we don’t make music to cater to the demands and expectations of the music industry, it is about connecting with people through music.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

TCOMAS: “God Hates Us All”.

Daphne: “South of Heaven”.

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

Daphne: Going around with thousands of songs on your phone to choose from is pure joy. But there’s something about unravelling (and smelling) the insert of a new CD or cassette to read the lyrics whilst listening to the music.

Andrea: I miss tapes but vinyls are the sexiest.

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

Andrea: When I performed at Telethon, a charity show in Italy which was aired live on national TV.

Daphne: It was a gig at the Fat Frog Cafe in the garden of The Substation, an independent arts space in Singapore (now sadly defunct). Over the decades, many gigs, plays, and art performances took place under the shade of a huge Banyan Tree that grew there.

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

Daphne: Probably in academia teaching art history or working in a museum.

Andrea: I’m a professional chef. This allowed me to play the music that fuck I want.

TCOMAS: Actually, we’re not just musicians. We are also painters (ELKYMY, Art by Lady Lazarus). Some of our cover artworks are paintings done by us.

 At The Worlds End Cover Artwork
‘At The Worlds End’ – Single Cover Artwork
featuring a series of paintings by ELKYMY.
www.elkymyart.com/at-the-worlds-end

 Love In The Time Of Pestilence Cover Artwork
‘Love in the Time of Pestilence’ – Single Cover Art
featuring, ‘The Plague Doctor’, painting by Daphne Ang.
https://daphneang.com/part-iii

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

TCOMAS: Attila the Hun, Frederick Nietzche, Carl Jung, Sylvia Plath, and Bender P. Rodriguez. We’ve made a little something for Ever Metal Readers below…

What’s next for the band?

TCOMAS: We’re planning to release our second album in 2022 and hopefully we will be able to start doing live shows safely as well. We’ve also started a design and motion graphics studio specialising in music video under TCOMAS Studio, so we hope to expand this more. You can check out some our work here: www.tcomasstudio.com

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

Andrea: I hate social media.

Daphne: Here you go.
www.tcomas.com
www.facebook.com/tcomasmusic
www.instagram.com/tcomas.music
www.twitter.com/tcomasmusic
www.soundcloud.com/tcomas
www.open.spotify.com/artist/2V3zzIcq2sbRbaEjbGypc8
www.youtube.com/c/TheChroniclesofManimalandSamara

Jaffa Cakes! Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Daphne: It’s a biscuit and a cake…a biscake? No, it’s a big macaroon.

Andrea: I’m a panettone kind of guy.

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

TCOMAS: Thank you very much for having us. It is always a pleasure to chat with you. See you around soon!

Here’s a little something we did for Ever Metal…

TCOMAS Dinner Party
‘TCOMAS Dinner Party’
After ‘The Last Supper’ by Leonardo da Vinci (Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons)

Read ‘Dark Juan’s ‘Count The Dead’ single review here:

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

The Chronicles Of Manimal And Samara – Full Spectrum

Full Spectrum Cover Art

The Chronicles Of Manimal And Samara – Full Spectrum
Self-Released
Release Date: 26/02/2021
Running Time: 65:55
Review by Dark Juan
10/10

Greetings and salutations, friends and confidants of all known sexes and preferences! It is I, Dark Juan, and I have returned safely and without incident from a shopping trip that could only be described as mildly taxing. You all, dear friends, know that I am famously misanthropic and having to wait in queues to get into fucking Pets At Home and have strangers talking to me is somewhat difficult, especially as it is my want to nod and smile politely whilst entertaining the goriest fantasies of dismembering the motherfucker being nice to me in the most gruesome of ways. Yes, a very polite young gentleman engaged me in benign yet banal conversation about 22 grown men in shorts kicking an inflated pig’s bladder around a field and my mouth was on autopilot while my imagination was consumed with the flash of keen blades and the comforting flow of blood around my wrists while his football loving heart is carefully removed from his chest and displayed in front of his staring, pain-filled eyes as the life slowly leaves them, fading gradually to grey silence as the blood pools in his torso where until recently his vigorous heart pumped life around his frame…

Sorry. I don’t like shopping very much. Anyway, I am safely ensconced back in Dark Juan Terrace with alcohol, sleeping hellhounds around me and the latest offering from The Chronicles Of Manimal And Samara rattling what’s left of my brains. TCOMAS are a London based duo from Italy and Singapore. In their own words: “TCOMAS take inspiration from Tool and Kraftwerk, as well as the poetry of Sylvia Plath, Virginia Woolf, and Jim Morrison, TCOMAS continues to fill a gap in music by bringing literature, art, and history together into a space where rock and metal meets electronic. Their musical and lyrical themes are very much rooted in the duo’s interests in classical literature and theatre, as well as in the fields of philosophy, history, and psychology.”

The album is composed of previously released singles and five new tracks and opens with ‘Atoms’ composed of spoken word vocals in the form of an oratory on the nature of man and life and the creation of the universe and its subsequent destruction and veers wildly from some chunky metal riffing, industrial and trance. It is an eclectic melange of sounds indeed. The guitar sounds fucking huge, though, when the band let rip. Second track ‘Psychopath’s Monologue’ begins with the spoken word poetry of Daphne Ang over a slowly building electronic industrial soundscape, beginning with just Daphne’s voice and a slight bass hum and the sounds of a woman achieving ecstasy. This song is based on the events of Dante’s Inferno and apparently the lyrics (deliberately fragmented in nature) are composed of seven sonnet poems written over a ten-year period.

It is ridiculously complicated to even attempt to quantify TCOMAS and their sound as it appears that they are absolutely hell bent on welding as many disparate influences together and unleashing this kind of highly polished chimera on this unsuspecting planet, just for the sheer hell of seeing what the fuck the world makes of it. Take track three, ‘Deus Ex Machina’ as an example – Heavy metal guitars and more spoken word beguile you into thinking you know where this song is going. You’re absolutely fucking wrong though. The lyrics tell the tale of Oedipus Rex and the guitars segue in and out of a segment played by a Persian tar before returning to gut slamming power. The same eclecticism is amply displayed on the fourth song, entitled ‘Mata Hari’. This time, the sound references the 80’s and modern synthwave with lush analogue synths and choppy, heavily produced MIDI guitar sounds over an ethereal vocal dripping with effects, giving the song a new wave/new romantic feel added to a modern, propulsive sensibility. It sounds like Georgio Moroder and Gary Numan in his “The Fury” era got hold of modern equipment and were allowed to go absolutely bonkers in an LSD filled studio. ‘The Descent’ begins with a sound that immediately references the start of a “The Fragile” era Nine Inch Nails track as the metal guitar torturously builds until bongo drums and mechanical buzzes slip beneath the deceptively simple electric guitar lick that repeats until the drums kick you in your fucking arse and the guitar work reminds you that this is a metal band playing here with little stabs of Rammsteinesque keyboards driving the song forwards to the fade…

‘Message For The King’ is an interlude where the band appears to have totally lost their shit and perform a humorous skit complete with bizarre kid’s Bontempi keyboards and sound effects of horses neighing. Clearly, TCOMAS are madder than Mickey “Mad Dog” McMad from Madsville.

Things take a decidedly apocalyptic bent on ‘Love In A Time Of Pestilence’. Deliberately released as a single at the time of the second lockdown, this song takes a Tool-esque intro into a bleak, quasi-industrial metal before taking a hard left turn into black metal vocals and speed before slamming back out of gear into a guitar solo that Dinosaur Jr’s J Mascis would be proud of before returning back to Tool’s noodling and another build to the power of heavy fucking metal over more spoken word detailing past epidemics and the present day pandemic and the public response towards it. Timely doesn’t even begin to cover the lyrics of this song. The interest and the bizarre mixing of disparate influences continues with the soft classical piano overlaid with electronic keyboard intro to ‘TCOMAS S01 E01’ (detailing the story of The Chronicles Of Manimal And Samara using the original script that was originally going to be a script for a manga book series) which suddenly has a techno beat growing over the softly spoken poetry of Daphne Ang. Then we are in the realms of full-on hard techno in the vein of Ultraviolence and there we stay with a wah soaked guitar enhancing it. Next track in is ‘Full Spectrum’, which is where pure metal fans might find this album too challenging for their musical sensibilities as it is a 16-minute instrumental with its base in experimental psychedelic trance and wild, flailing, dissonant guitar cutting in and out of the music at unexpected moments – think The Orb and Tangerine Dream getting mixed with Disturbed and Prong and bits of Ozric Tentacles and you get a sort of an idea of the sound I am experiencing. Although so far this record has denied me a chance to give you all a kind of overriding description of it all, hence the verbose ramblings about individual songs. It is the only way I can impart any form of sense about this album to you. It is so wide ranging, experimental and out to fucking lunch it defies any attempt for this ridiculous, barely literate idiot to, coherently and cogently, make any bastard sense of it…

‘At The World’s End’ is the utterly obsidian black final song. This is far and away the most metal song on the record, being progressive me(n)tal with the odd electronic bleep and bloop. And then TCOMAS throw every effect they have in an extraordinarily capacious arsenal at some spoken words that they have managed to render totally unintelligible and have given it a title, ‘The Great News’.

At that point, the insanity ends. How the fuck do I summarise this Frankenstein’s Monster of a record for you all? It’s progressive to the point of almost parody. It just manages to stay on the right side of parody, however. Metal purists will fucking hate this album so much it will cause them considerable pain and suffering. More adventurous music lovers may find the sheer lack of attention to boundaries, style and genre equally galling, because there are points on this record where the music does not gel as well as it could as the influences and styles being used are simply not compatible, not matter how hard you beat them together. If you are an intrepid listener, however, and someone to whom genre and style are words that mean nothing, then I have a new favourite band for you. The Chronicles Of Manimal And Samara are superb, but they will have an extremely limited audience because of the free ranging nature of their music and the lack of singing – Daphne Ang’s poetry and spoken word offering a narrative style rather than song and Andrea Papi electing to only open his throat sparingly. I could even say that TCOMAS are TOO complex for the casual music fan to understand and this will be to their detriment, if you view success in sales. Others might claim that TCOMAS are a band trying too hard to be different, and edgy, and unique. If you view success as creating a magnum opus of wholly original, impossibly complex music that defies genre and gleefully tramples over any form of traditionalism with a big shit eating grin on its face and a total disregard for the rules, then TCOMAS are for you. In my opinion, TCOMAS have transcended music and have created aural art. They create visual soundscapes that you can wander and get lost in.

Well, I’m blown away, frankly. I have this rule when I am scoring the music I review, which is that the music has to be interesting. TCOMAS has that covered in magnificent style. But is it metal? In all honesty, yes. It’s metal twisted and welded into shapes with impossible geometries utterly unfamiliar to people, but the basics are there. There’s heavy metal guitars and bass playing and the lyrics are thought provoking, suitably apocalyptic and rivet the attention. Which is no mean feat considering I have the attention span of a mentally deficient fish.

The Patented Dark Juan Blood Splat Rating System is massively conflicted. On one hand, TCOMAS have not delivered a true heavy metal record, but on the other they have given us something futuristic and shiny and uncompromising and based in metal. Fuck it, 10/10 for a sublime work of genius that will only have an extremely select and adventurous audience. Expand your minds, metal pilgrims, expand your minds. This album is perfect late night driving music when you’re miles from anywhere. Possibly the most prog thing I have ever heard.

TRACKLISTING:
01. Atoms
02. Psychopath’s Monologue
03. Deus Ex Machina
04. Mata Hari
05. The Descent
06. Message For The King
07. Love In The Time Of Pestilence
08. TCOMAS S01 E01
09. Full Spectrum
10. At The World’s End
11. The Great News

LINE-UP:
Daphne Ang (Samara) – Vocals, Lyrics, Piano
Andrea Papi (Manimal) – Guitar, Bass, Keyboards, Vocals

LINKS:

The Chronicles Of Manimal And Samara

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of ‘Dark Juan’ and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.