Elegy's Manifestation of Fear is their fifth studio album, and the second one with the great Ian Parry at the helm. On this amazing concept album about a child born into a world of poverty and despair, the band display their amazing songwriting abilities within a storytelling context. Parry shines like never before with his unique, theatrical delivery, almost becoming the characters he portrays on the album. His slightly gritty, rough tone suits the feel of each track greatly, but his clean, hook-laden choruses are also in great abundance here: check the chorus of "Master of Deception" where he soars above a beautiful synth line and fluid guitar passages; or the wonderfully arranged "Angel without Wings", a track that comes to the fore due to its clever breakdowns, swift keyboard parts, and articulate guitar work.
Guitarist Henk van der Laars' work is sublime through and through, as he puts equal amount of emphasis on crunch and corrosive riffwork without sacrificing Elegy's trademark melodic focus. This could quite possibly be his pinnacle along with State of Mind. His playing flows like never before -- be it his staccato riffery or amazing run-out leads on "Unorthodox Methods" or his relatively more technical yet equally melodic soloing on "Frenzy", he proves he is the reason why Elegy managed to rise to the top among a million other bands in the genre bordering on symphonic and progressive metal at times.
Metal Mind's brilliant remastering of this golden disc has given the already powerful songs a brighter feel with lots of crunch and sonic expanse. The booklet in the digipack is also awesome: it contains a storyline of Ian Parry's concept, with each track giving detailed explanation on what happens at which point. Also included are three bonus tracks, one of them being the absolutely essential Japanese version of "Solitary Day". It's an extended version with a lot more character than the regular album version. Also available on the disc are demo versions of "Master of Deception" and "Metamorphosis". It is great how much these tracks evolved and became the band's definitive melodic metal staples.
To this day, Manifestation of Fear remains an unrivaled melodic metal concept album of the 90's. It is arguably Elegy's most varied work in their catalog with its hard-rocking metal anthems, midtempo cuts, heart-piercing ballads, instrumental material, et cetara -- it was about time some label remastered it and put it out in its deserved packaging, so kudos to Metal Mind Productions for that.
- Unorthodox Methods
- Angel Without Wings
- Savage Grace
- Master of Deception
- Solitary Day (Living in an Ivory Tower)
- Manifestation of Fear
- Victim of Circumstance
- Redemption [Instrumental]
- Solitary Day [Extended Version Japan]
- Master of Deception [*][Demo Version]
- Metamorphosis [*][Demo Version]