Manitou : two tracks on 'Scene of the Crime' (sampler)
(Suspect - 1981)
Category : overlooked
'Scene of the Crime' is an obscure NWOBHM-compilation featuring Savage, Sparta, Tyrant, Panza Division and Manitou (not to be confused with the Finnish Heavy Metal band). The music is your typical fair of early 80's British Metal. As was customary in this kind of samplers the production isn't very impressive. So all in all, even though all the bands have their moments, it's an average collection that's of interest to classic NWOBHM fans only. The 4,5 star rating you see at the top is actually only for the contribution of Manitou, as they are the band I'm interested in here.
What sets them apart for me is not so much that they had a better technique (as they didn't) but simply the fact that they seemed to be excellent song writers. Quite often NWOBHM bands like this would have their best songs on samplers of labels like Ebony, Heavy Metal or Neat. Their full albums then often turned out to be disappointing. But in the case of Manitou we'll never know if they had more good material in them or not. I have searched the Internet for other Manitou-material, but I have come to the conclusion that their contribution to this sampler is all there is.
Compared to the other bands, Manitou's sound isn't as heavy which for me puts them more in the Hard Rock camp. But that's not remarkable as a fair percentage of NWOBHM bands were actually playing Hard Rock. It's neither a good nor a bad thing. Their compositions aren't more complex than those of the other bands either. But what does make them interesting is the fact that their sound is a bit more subtle in the sense that they add keyboards to good effect (only on one track though) and more importantly that the choruses are memorable and that the vocalist manages to produce good melodies throughout the entire length of the songs.
Of the two 'Manitou' is the strongest, with the best melodies and with its use of hard fast parts and soft slow parts. The drumming has a slightly tribal aspect, which suits the song well. But 'Overlord' is good too. It's a no frills Hard Rocker that's simply a pleasant listen.
Be warned! Don't expect to hear something phenomenal or ground breaking in any way, if you one day happen to hear this. You might even think what I'm going on about. Maybe their music subconciously makes me think of another band I like. But nevertheless, the fact that for me Manitou was one out of maybe a dozen bands that stood out in the NWOBHM movement (and I have heard quite a lot of them) must mean there's something there. It certainly means that I would've wanted to hear more of them. But alas. They were just one of many bands that disappeared out of sight before they ever really got in sight.