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ManicProject – Square0ne

ManicProject - Square0ne

CD, self-released, 2007

Somebody give this guy a Grammy already. With vocals at times reminiscent of “Broken”-era Nine Inch Nails, and guitar-driven song structures that regularly slide into the mainstream appeal that Nu-metal bands like Linkin Park have to offer, all stitched together with melodic lines that wouldn’t seem all too foreign on a Moby record, ManicProject manages to fuse a myriad of vastly different genres into one extremely creative album. Indeed, Phil Istomin is a massively talented individual. Not only does he manage to seamlessly blend his skillful instrumentation (disdaining virtual instruments, ManicProject chooses instead to rely solely on the real thing – a feather in any musician’s cap in this day and age, even if it does alienate the contemporary techno/industrial crowd) with clear, meaningful lyrics; he’s also solely responsible for the design and artwork gracing the album’s packaging.
It is overall an intelligent record, but not nearly dark enough, electronic enough or emotional enough. Brilliant execution, meticulous attention to detail and more commercial potential than you can poke a stick at make for an easy choice for your average sheep at the record store, but it’s not going to inspire lifelong devotion in me. It’s all great, but everything sounds the same. As such, it’s difficult to choose any highlights from the album – everything is excellent, but too much like what you can hear on most radio stations, with vague warbling about failed attempts at love and angst-ridden rebelliousness. As a result I guess it’s the counterculture in me that screams against ManicProject, but don’t let that put you off.


— David vander Merwe

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