As their epic, emotional rock that never went overboard became a little too similar, Atlanta’s Manchester Orchestra shifted into a more stripped down sound on 2017’s A Black Mile To the Surface (QRO review). Now Andy Hull & co. brings back some of their grander nature, but not full bore, for an effective quiet/loud mix that still stands out in The Million Masks of God.
On the one hand, the giant effects of older Manchester Orchestra have returned on Masks, such as in the pressing-to-the-stratosphere “Angel of Death” or the slow emotional power-into-big Manchester smash of “Dinosaur”. Yet there are also times where the band feels more like the modern alt-country of Band of Horses, like the choral light of opener “Inaudible” or the touching plucking to “Way Back”. It’s all perhaps best done in the real beauty and touch without having to go big of “Obstacle”.
While A Black Mile To the Surface felt like a shift for Manchester Orchestra, The Million Masks of God is more of an evolution, taking all the past and pushing into a new future.