In the past few days, we’ve become closely acquainted with the evolving creative world of Jacob McCallum. Better known by his moniker Manic Maniac, Jacob is an artist with a raw sound and passion delivery, bringing both a personal and spiritual element to all of his released. Rising from the underground scene with a relentless work ethic, Manic has released three albums since 2018, creating a dark and engaging trilogy of sounds.
Tracing his rise to prominence, his first two albums arrived as rapid-fire cuts, bringing over thirty songs to light at break-neck speed. Two landmark releases of divisive sounds, ‘Vision’ and ‘Insanity’ illustrated his creative journey with unadulterated style, showing his progression from young hopeful to sound technical artist. Now, we’ve come to the third entry in the continuing saga, Manic’s most recent and accomplished release, ‘Awakened’.
Before even hitting play, you can see that Manic has step things up again, and for the first time in his career, he has managed to pen a track that stretches passed the two minute mark. It’s a joy to see, particular after his last record had audiences demanding more longevity in his releases. Another colossal effort of twenty-one songs, ‘Awakened’ opens with his cleanest sound yet, bringing the music into focus for what might be the first time.
Met by a cascade of swirling synths and celestial beats, ‘Legion’ opens the proceedings with style, expanding on the growth that Manic showed in his last album. The hackneyed bravado is still going strong, but it’s never sounded so clear, meaning for the first time you can properly connect with Manic’s flow. Second cut ‘The Messenger’ sees Manic returning to his straight forward torrent of words, offering little melody to his verse and instead just hammering your speakers, but thankfully it’s a trend he has largely managed to move past, with the following few tracks all picking up where ‘The Messenger’ dropped off.
Despite the marked improvement in the sound, Manic still has his flaws in songwriting and delivery to overcome, and songs still cut out and disappear without warning or get constrained by the linear arrangements. There’s never a chorus or notable change in proceedings with his work, and largely it’s a refreshing thing, but it also makes each song harder to get behind, limiting their scope and crowding a release that’s as big as this.
There are still glimmers of hope, with tracks like ‘DNA’, ‘Giant’ and ‘MVP’ built to impress and giving the first proper illustration of Manic’s skills. While the vocals might be a little overpowering and his delivery still rough, it’s impossible to deny how much Manic has improved since the release of his debut LP. In every way ‘Awakened’ is a triumph for Manic, setting a new standard for his work and building the hype for what his fourth LP will be like.
You can find ‘Awakened’ on Spotify and Apple Music now, and be sure to look out for Manic’s first two albums, ‘Insanity’ and ‘Awakened’ as well.