The Breathing House is one of those releases that's really hard for me to assess. Though the quality is high, the musicianship is amazing, and the songwriting clearly took tons of effort, the music simply leaves me cold. Not because it's bad; quite the contrary, actually. It just fails to speak to me in any way. Maybe it's the bleak, dreary post rock/metal instrumentation used throughout the entire EP, or maybe it's the dull production. No matter the cause for my dissatisfaction, Manuscripts Don't Burn's debut EP is pretty monotonous for me. It's really a shame that my own personal preferences don't allow me to enjoy The Breathing House, because there surely is great music to be found here. Unfortunately, the lack of instrumental and compositional variation, as well as a somewhat dull production leaves me with a lukewarm experience.
Manuscripts Don't Burn is a one-man project from Davide Tiso of Ephel Duath. The Breathing House is much calmer than Ephel Duath's music, even though there are still a lot of avant garde and experimental tendencies on the album. The music here is completely instrumental, played in a post metal style. It's not my favorite thing to listen to, but Davide Tiso does a solid job. My biggest issue throughout this entire EP is the lack of variation. Though there are variations of riffs and tempo, almost the entire course of the EP consists of 3 instruments (guitar, bass, and drums) played in a heavy, avant-garde style. I may be somewhat biased due to my general lack of interest in post metal, but I think fans of the genre may have this complaint as well. Again, it's really a shame because there is some great music on The Breathing House. The final track, "The Iron Dog Protecting the Sea" is especially noteworthy. Despite my general lack of affection for the music, Davide Tiso's talents as a musician are far from ignorable. His guitar skills usually take the cake, but there are also quite a few terrific drum parts as well.
The production is a bit of a problem. Though some people may enjoy the raw, unpolished nature of this EP, it doesn't appeal to me. It's monotonous in my opinion, and actually is part of the reason why I feel there's a lack of variation on The Breathing House. It's all an acquired taste, though.
The Breathing House is an adequate debut EP by Manuscripts Don't Burn, but judging by Davide's other works, I can't help but feel slightly disappointed. This isn't an easy EP to listen to, and I guess that was his intent here. Though the quality, especially the musicianship, is generally great, it fails to really capture me as a listener. If you like Davide Tiso's other works, this is worth a shot, but I recommend approaching The Breathing House with caution. The rather weak production, lack of variation, and somewhat lackluster personality means I can't give this EP more than 2.5 stars. Although it's clear that Davide put his heart and soul into this record, it really leaves me cold. Hopefully I'll be able to enjoy future releases from Manuscripts Don't Burn. Davide Tiso clearly has the chops to make a great album under this pseudonym.
1. In The Breathing House
2. Connubium In Solitude
3. Like a Zephir
4. When Uriel Shakes The Soil
5. Invoking Metatron
6. The Iron Dog Protecting The Sea