In three days, MNHM will release their sophomore album titled ‘Of Empires Past,’ but you can already listen to the record right now, here at Arctic Drones.
MNHM (pronounced: Mannheim) are a relatively unknown noise rock quartet who are not from Germany, as their name makes one suspect, but from the Netherlands. Dutch humour aside, this band has been in my sights for a while. At Incubate I figuratively brushed passed them as I skipped their concert to see Oathbreaker play. A decision which I regret after hearing their latest record Of Empires Past.
With Of Empires Past the band have improved in just about every area they could’ve improved upon. The new record sounds more refined than before and the songwriting could be called delicate, yet imposing. Right from the start of the record, it sounds as if the roof is coming down. The aptly named album opener—A SHOW OF MIGHT—starts with a heavy barrage of drums and guitars reminding me of the newer Tides of Nebula records in their most noisy moments. The addition of a saxophone gives the collective an avant-garde jazz-feel that evoke the spectacular improv performances of Paal Nilssen-Love and Ken Vandermark.
Of Empires Past will be released on May 5 and can be pre-ordered now through Consouling Sounds. Available in CD and vinyl formats.
The record might seem very daunting—judging from its first few minutes—but later on the band manages to kick back a little, contrasting loud and quieter passages to great effect. With stand-out track EQUALS OF GODS the band’s rhythmic side kicks in full-force reminding me of the more math-y side of the Italian noise rock scene, which sees bands such as Zu, but also Zeus! draw influence from avant-garde classical composers such as Steve Reich. The occasional and most of all surprising use of double kick drum sets this wonkiness straight again, creating another refreshing balance of influences from different genres. Other tracks that you must surely check out are SUPERIOR GRACE and ENFORECE/EMBRACE, which both give the listener a full sense of MNHM’s glorious and devastating melodic impact.
In conclusion, Of Empires Past proves to be a very convincing effort that is both incredibly loud and thoroughly nuanced. When a band plays a fusion of multiple genres they often take the tropes of these styles and mix them together in a convenient manner, resulting in music that’s quite bland. But once in a while a band pops up that manage to create a mixture that makes you appreciate the original ingredients even more, and MNHM is one of those bands. In merging post-, noise and math rock, the Dutch quartet bring us a refreshing experience that contrasts underexposed aspects from all three genres, taking experimental rock to a new level.