MANUEL BARBARÁ

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EPK – CLOCKWORK SOUL (2022)

For fans of: Meshuggah, Jason Richardson, Keith Merrow, Monuments, Periphery

Release Date: July 1, 2022
Label: Self-Release

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Song Lineup
Manuel Barbará (guitar)
Joey Ferretti (drums)
Nick Thorpe (bass)


Song Credits
Written by Manuel Barbará
Produced by Charles Henry-Volk
Drums Recorded at Mad Oak Studios
Artwork by IoBe Studio

"Clockwork Soul started life years ago as an exercise that I couldn’t get out of my head. I kept going back to it but it wasn’t until I heard Jason Richardson talk about his approach that I had the inspiration I needed to finish it. It’s pretty amazing to go back and see the little 3 minute idea it evolved from. For me, it represents a huge evolution in my style from my previous work.

 

I like to write my guitar solos after everything else is written and recorded. I was lucky enough to be studying with Jake Howsam-Lowe (Plini) at the time and he did a lot to help me figure out how to put it together.

 

The sound I was searching for was heavy, heavier than my previous work, atmospheric, coloristic.  Joey Ferretti - drums (Replacire, Poh Hock, Black Crown Initiate) and Nick Thorpe - bass (Vera Kay, Aveya, Among the Stars) helped me achieve this with their performances.  We recorded the drums at Mad Oak Studios in the middle of the pandemic lockdowns. Joey arrived in Boston to find out that he had to leave within 24 hours because of new restrictions. He spent the whole night before packing his apartment into his van and after 5 hours of recording he drove a few hundred miles to get home. The recording was fantastic – much more relaxed than the previous session. We had learned from past mistakes and felt much more comfortable all around.

Clockwork Soul is pretty exclusively influenced by modern Prog. I love everything from Iron Maiden to Black Dahlia Murder though, and I’m sure everything ends up influencing my music in some way. My intention when I write is my own pleasure, I don’t demand anything from the listeners.  I want them to immerse themselves in the sound, to like it or hate it, but not remain indifferent.."

Manuel Barbará is a young, up-and-coming guitarist and composer from the East Coast of the United States. Inspired to take up the guitar by Iron Maiden and Pink Floyd, Manuel successfully auditioned for Berklee College of Music, graduating in 2020 with a degree in Guitar and Composition.

At Berklee, Manuel discovered an interest in traditional “classical” music and composition, especially more modern styles, in addition to the love of progressive rock and heavy metal that had brought him there in the first place. Manuel’s goal is to bring both of these spheres of music together in his writing, whether it be for metal band or chamber ensemble.

His guitar playing is precise and disciplined, his compositions are carefully constructed pieces, full of ambiance and color.  Talking about his music Barbará says: "The purpose of music for me, after all the craft and technique and study are done, is to draw the listeners in and allow them to experience totally new worlds. The details of those worlds will be up to each individual person". 

 His first album Moonrise was released in March, 2021.  His new single Clockwork Soul is coming out in....."For the future I have two new songs ready for release and I’m excited to be collaborating with two accomplished musicians on a new project that I hope to share soon".

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DISCOGRAPHY
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Finding inspiration in a wide range of classical, neoclassical, as well as contemporary artists and bands, New Jersey based guitarist and composer Manuel Barbará managed to find his very own style and sound over the years. With “Moonrise,” he released his debut album on March 19th, 2021, and besides the guitar wizard himself, you can also hear Nick Thorpe on bass, as well as drummer Joey Ferretti. The songs are complex and sophisticated, but always well-composed and with good flow. The guitar playing is fantastic and creates very own sound worlds: often dark, but brightened by gleaming, mystical soundscapes. This album is modern, highly technical instrumental prog metal, and if you’re into artists like PERIPHERY, I’d recommend to join Manuel Barbará on his journey. 

- Katha S. (Tuonela)

Frantic, complex, forceful but with melodies, Manuel Barbará kick off Moonrise with the title track. Bringing the progressiveness to the forefront immediately before showcasing a ton more flair as things go on. The cacophony of guitars, bass, drums and grander soundscapes is gripping stuff and you quickly find that there’s no missing the vocals here.  A chillier and more mellow start than introduces The God Complex before it transforms into an elaborate effort. One that feels like a chase sequence in the not so distant future. Again, it’s a spectacular showcase of the progressive qualities of Manuel Barbará.  Keeping things sounding interesting, Children of Prometheus’ starry melody moments work really well against the chunkier and darker metal rhythm. Whereas Mirrors I – Image has an epic feel to it, the rising guitar riffs and cold drops into coarse beats and off-kilter melody, is kick-ass stuff. Talking of off-kilter and eerie though, Mirrors II – Silver is a change from the norm. Around 3 and a half minutes of effects that conjures up images of empty darkness that slowly begins to spark into life. The life being the doomier drawl of Mirrors III – Reflection which gets a lot perkier and more intense as it goes on. Leading to the big finale of The Nightmare Weaver and one more intense frenzy of progressive guitars and melodramatic ambience. Massive. - GBHBL

Manuel Barbará shines bright on Moonrise. New Jersey based Manuel Barbará has a deep-seated love of progressive metal and contemporary classical music and, following his graduation from Berklee College of Music where he earned a degree in Guitar Performance and Composition, he has released his first album. Called Moonrise, it certainly blends his musical preferences with a mix of weight, lightness and, of course, classical across seven instrumental tracks.  

If you doubt this approach, then one listen to the opening and title track will dispel any fears; aggressive riffing but backed by a complex melody that weaves behind the frantic drums and then a quiet piano-led bridge that breathes before we’re back into the riff. Three tracks compliment each other and should be considered as movements of a suite of rock: ‘Mirrors I, II and III’. The first builds nicely and orchestrally; the second is what I think is called ‘ambient’ as it plinks away before the third hits with a strong, slow and powerful riff before racing down the prog metal road.

Instrumentals are always difficult to assess: as a guitarist myself (albeit a crap one), most of this is a fascinating listen and it is easy to appreciate Manuel’s complex musical narrative. If you want songs to sing along to then, obviously, you’ll find it difficult here. Regardless, this deserves a listen as it does embody the prog metal ideal and as such, it’s a damn good album: think Tesseract or Periphery. - RAMZine 

This is an astounding first record. Especially for a single composer. If you are a fan of atmospheric instumental metal, give it a shot. I give the album a solid 8/10. Manuel is already looking forward to the future with new compositions which are even more refined and elaborate. I'm looking forward to it with great anticipation. Here’s “Moonrise!” - Belgian Metal Shredder

Incredibly mature musical performance [ ...] Not only muscles, but also atmosphere. [ ...] It's unbelievable that Moonrise is the debut of a musical high-flyer. Manuel  Barbará  releases an unbelievably mature masterpiece, which not only pays homage to its role models Dream Theater , Keith Marrow or Periphery , but also presents crisp, progressive Djent Metal at eye level, which despite its perfection and precision still offers room for improvement. My recommendation with 8.5 / 10 - Soundmagnet

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