CD, Trozoc/cyberninja.digital, 2008
A big hand, everyone, for Mangadrive – not so much for the quality of the music presented on “These.Blades.Will.Never.Rust”, but most definitely for their accompanying attitude. This album is not deeply provocative, nor is it emotionally stirring, nor even crammed full of sentiment and pretension. It is unapologetic, hi-energy dance music, pure, simple and unadulterated by lofty ideals and messages. It bangs out a blistering rhythmic tattoo into the unsuspecting skulls of its listeners, an aural shot of espresso that has the potential to kickstart any dancefloor. And that includes the mainstream: despite the underground, darker nature (suggested by song titles like “Rolling out the black carpet” and “Forced to drink”) of Mangadrive’s musical mayhem, there is palpable commercial appeal – as far as hard house and techno clubs are concerned – evident throughout the entire process of neatly compressed percussion, gut-rumbling basslines and straightforward melodies.
Simple arrangements coupled with tight production and meticulous attention to detail makes this a particularly crisp release – an impressive feat in itself, considering the high BPM involved. This gives “These.Blades.Will.Never.Rust” one more endearing quality: as well as the undeniable dance appeal, the dynamic, well constructed aspect of the recording makes the album listenable as well – if only in small doses to avoid the associated embarrassment of “getting’ down” in the workplace, or car, or wheresoever you find yourself listening to Mangadrive…
Collaborations with Iammynewt and Viscera Drip add a bit more dimension to the album (which, admittedly, does become a bit too much of the same thing after a while) on “Rolling out the black carpet” and “Karma”, respectively. In particular, the vocal component on the latter is inspirational. Its gritty texture juxtaposed with the clean, untreated synth melody (a staple in Mangadrive’s sonic arsenal) is, without a doubt, the highlight here. Nice work.
— David vander Merwe