Originally a duo, Manes emerged from the Norwegian scene in the
releasing a string of demos up until 1995, at which time they
from public view for a variety of reasons, not the least of which was a
serious medical condition suffered by guitarist Cernunnus.
The band's first full-length album,
Under Ein Blodraut Maane
finally was released in 1999.
Blodraut features that classic
cold guitar tone synonymous with old-school black metal,
alongside distant tortured vocals from Sargatanas.
Though the production is a bit thin, the album itself is quite good for
Four years later the band emerged again, but with substantial
guitarist Tor-Helge Skei (the real name of Cernunnus) had recruited an
all-new lineup, resulting in 2003's release, Vilosophe.
A stark contrast to their past, Vilosophe finds the band undergoing
a transformation of
proportions, as the album contains no black metal and only some
elements of metal at all.
What Vilosophe is, though, is an intriguing foray into a variety
featuring trip-hop, jazz and electronica elements married
with a somewhat melancholic
rock/metal feel, and distinctive high clear vocals.
Reviews on the album are sharply divided, with some disappointed
leaving the black metal scene and finding the new approach pretentious,
while others appreciate the experimentalism and freshness of the new
To these ears, Vilosophe is an excellent album, and heartily
to those with an open mind to new influences in hard music.
Several years after that came How The World Came To An End,
furthering the band's cause towards avant-garde metal, and a year later
the band was done.
Skei and the old vocalist Sargatanas formed an offshoot band by the name of
and after releasing an album in 2013,
Skei once again reformed Manes and released Be All End All in 2014.