I recall that night as a haze, Resen Carbonell of SPJ, famous for his Magshow series, repeatedly reminded me to watch the Munoz, Nueva Ecija based band’s set. This was a years, back somewhere in 2007 or 2008, so this meant that I might have had a bottle too many already at 8pm. Blackmanika, then fronted by petite Jhonas Dizon, set up their instruments shyly, the towering B-gee Serna was tinkering around with his boxes, Von Gaspar minding his drums, and longstanding Ivan Tirazona on bass was patiently waiting for the rest of the band. The cosmic guitars kicked in and I met Blackmanika. It may have been their song Drifting as I recall, I can’t seem to find a video or track of Jhonas on vocals, or Lost, but hearing that deep round masculine growl for the first time instantly had me checking my balls to see if they were still there, this monstrous sound from this petite little girl. She gave us a run for our money
(Check out the video, around 2:00 you’ll see what I mean)
Half a decade has passed, Ibarra and I have grown close to our Ecijan friends, during and after our bands transition, Blackmanika had worked doubly hard to keep up with their line up changes. They are one of the bravest bands I’ve seen in this struggling northern scene. Only a few bands attempt to break into the Metro Manila scene without aid, but Blackmanika did it, on their own terms and with quite some success.
Once in a while we would see Jhonas front the band, a while back in Bulacan, I asked her what happened, she simply answered, “Buhay(Life)”. Many of us love to do this despite the sacrifices, but some just can’t afford them.
With Dane Julian Madriaga on vocals and Chatro Velasco on drums, Blackmanika stepped into the studio in 2010, and after 4 years of spit, blood, sweat, tears and maybe even a little semen, they emerge with the vicious “Voyage Into Subliminal Trance”. This is the 3rd or 4rth time they’ve dumped what they’ve already had on hand and recorded everything from ground up.
B-gee jokes, “Oo tol, mejo malandi ang istorya… pero worth it naman, (I think) kahit dumobol K kami sa recording”. (Yep brother, the story is a little promiscuous, but its worth it, I think, even if we had to double K recording). Double K is not a type of drug, if you want to know what it is, ask the band or their close friends in Il Nomine Patris.
The record is out, and Blackmanika wants you to celebrate not just the 4 years of work but almost a decade of chasing the dream. “Voyage Into Subliminal Trance” contains 8 tracks, running 40 or so odd minutes.
Voyage Into Subliminal Trance
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