The Manichean is gearing up for their first full-length release next year. In the meantime, they will be releasing a new EP, Lacerus Rising, as appropriately bizarre as the excellent Whispers tonight at Avant Garden.
In a way, the EP serves as a trailer for the longer release Houston's weird-music aficionados have been impatiently waiting for; it's a collection of remixes of Whispers standout "Lacerus." That's something of a simplification, as the each of the artists who contribute have attempted re-imaginings rather than simple manipulations in pursuit of better dance tracks.
Vincent Priceless has, for instance, taken the upbeat progressive-rock original and turned it into something right off of Nine Inch Nails' The Fragile. It's a Lynchian exploration of the deepest depths of an audio oubliette, and we'd be lying if we said we didn't sometimes prefer it to The Manichean's original.
Also of considerable note is the 8-bit rendition done by Will Schorre. Schorre has cobbled the atoms of every awesome Mega Man track to make "Lacerus" less of an epic tale and more into the best damn mini-boss fight score we've have ever heard. Never before have we been so sorry that we didn't have a vampire killing whip and a handful of evil pixels to punish.
The question that Rocks Off was most keen to ask though is who exactly is Lacerus? Why does he rise? And most importantly, what's so damn special about him that he deserves a whole EP of variations on his tale by the current kings of Houston avant-garde?
The biography of the character has a great deal to do with the fact that The Manichean as a band also considers The Manichean as a separate sentient entity. The Manichean is a protagonist on a quest, and Lacerus is the Man in Black who flees across the desert from him.
The original song detailed the crossing of paths between the two characters, with the middle bit symbolizing Lacerus rising from the grave.
"Lacerus the man shares a kinship with the biblical figure Lazarus in that they are both revenants; ones who have returned from the dead," says The Manichean's Cory Sinclair. "Lacerus, however, was a terrible man who did unthinkable things and suffered an equally terrible death.
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"He was young and wealthy and lived in the 19th century. He has returned for something, but we are not yet certain of what that is. Years from now, after the completion of the 'Whispers Saga,' we shall record an album detailing Lacerus's life and subsequent return. It is going to be a very dark and visceral tale that is already in development."
Until then, Houston will have to be content with the bits that The Manichean has released for our perusal. Luckily, the band has at least given us a visual representation to go along with the aural one in the form of a painting done by Brandon Hancock of Scattered Pages. Arrogant and brutal, the subject's eyes have an annoying tendency to follow you around the room.
The EP will be released at Avant Garden tonight. Attendees are asked to please dress in black, white, and red - Lacerus' chosen colors. Will Schorre, Vincent Priceless, and others responsible for the EP will be on hand to personally perform their work, and The Manichean also plans to showcase further new material.
Jef With One F is the author of The Bible Spelled Backwards Does Not Change the Fact That You Cannot Kill David Arquette and Other Things I Learned In the Black Math Experiment, available now.