Aggressive and highly intense death metal performed with class and conviction is what is on display here, and the sound that emanates from the loudspeakers when spinning this great-looking disc is one of pitch-black darkness and a listening experience akin to staring into an abyss.
Manhunt is as suffocating and oppressive as they come and just so damn efficient with respect to delivering a proper (and lethal) punch. The riffs are raw, pulverizing, and unnerving while the rumbling and prominent bass is locked into a solid and hard-hitting groove with the drums. Add the punishing and suitably deranged vocals and what you essentially have is a winner. Baalberith could not give a rat’s ass about being technically dazzling or even remotely innovative; it is all about quality songwriting and atmosphere here. There are twists and turns throughout its unsettling and malicious compositions that will throw you for a loop and make you sit up and take notice and the way in which the guitars and vocals compliment each other is inspired and results in some meaty and truly powerful passages that cut like razors.
Perhaps the strong traces of black metal that course through the seven-track debut effort is the reason why it comes across as a genuinely evil piece of work, or maybe it is the abundance of semi-slow, strangely hypnotic parts containing morose melodies and morbid moods that leave such a mark on the listener? Either way, it works like an abhorrent charm and I am thoroughly impressed with how well-written, dynamic, and authentically passionate Manhunt is. Perhaps the best example of what they have to offer is the brooding ‘Day’s Covered Eyes’?
Although there are countless records out there that are as impenetrably dark and overwhelmingly heavy as Baalberith’s opus, few are as confident, sinister, and vigorous of that of this Polish ensemble. The only thing that leaves something to be desired is the lyrical aspect of Manhunt, which revolves around madness, murder, and serial killers to some extent, where some of them appear a little derivative or simply lack creativity.
Those of you who enjoy thunderous death metal filled to the brim with neck-snapping sections and horror-filled vibes need to add this one to your playlist.