The Germanic terrors known as Mantar have returned for another round of sonic pillaging. With the release of their venomous sophomore release entitled Ode To The Flame on Nuclear Blast, Mantar are poised to salt the earth and burn everything within their sight. With a lethal combination of Profane Existence-era Crust Punk, Darkthrone and classic fist-pumping Metal that only a Mother could hate styled-sound, Mantar’s newest offering is the real, raw deal. One that isn’t normally heard these days with their dirty, straight from the gutter styled attack. A vicious, punch to the kidney type of release that forgoes any fancy aesthetics or uber-polished production. But relies more on the pure savagery that Hanno and partner in crime Erinc can channel forth. And trust me, this shit is not only really fucking raw and nasty, but also has a thick grimy under-layer that courses under the sonic battery and hints at something thought provoking and well orchestrated.
With a celestial hum of feedback quickly followed by the shattering of the earth itself, Mantar waste no time – nor regards to your hearing – with their first song “Carnal Rising.” The song stands as an excellent greeting to what the listener is in store for. Throaty, Crust-Punk inspired vocals, undead-mammoth sized riffs and drums that could topple sky-scrappers. Even as the album moves past the whip-lash inducing “Praise the Plague” and fist-pumping, soon to be crowd favorite “Era Borealis,” one fact becomes clearly evident. While deeply rooted in a fuzzed-out, deep sound that the duo conjures up, Mantar are able to pull from just about every genre of extreme music under the sun. And while like a jack-of-all-trades and master of none, this ability and vast library of sonic knowledge allows them to contort and bend their instruments around their every whim. Even the fourth track “The Hint” has such a strong, Tragedy styled opening that it’s hard to deny this bands roots in the Hardcore scene. Even as the album flows into more cloudy, mustard gas choked territory as one presses on.
Just peeling back these opening tracks and moving slightly beyond the proto-typical Crust sound shows that they’re not afraid to dabble in other avenues of sonic blasphemy. While the first half of the album absolutely rips and shreds, it’s truly the second act that defines this album for Mantar. “Born Reveresed” smashes the gates open with a super stoner-rock worshiping onslaught. One that comes as bit of a surprise considering the fuzzed out, distorted sound that Mantar has put forth up until this point. Even it’s beat down to the ground middle passage stinks of Louisiana bayous and vodoo. A fitting change of pace considering that next track “Oz” works off a classic Hardcore/Metal staple in which lead singer Hanno belches out a ferocious “GO.” A simple one, word statement that sums up the song and the album itself pretty nicely, in a putrid sort of way.
Which bring us to the crown jewel of this album, track eight. Entitled “Cross the Cross,” Mantar base the main portion of this song around one hell of a fucking classic, thrash-ridden riff from the get-go. Matt Pike himself might even quake at the magnitude of this fiendish song to be honest. Without ever letting up, but also maintaining a degree of diversity from being able to subtlety shift between melody and noise, Mantar show on But I’m sure that some you at this point are wondering just when does the necrotic, vile influence of Black Metal come into play? Rest assured that they are there. While maybe not so in your face as other bands, or even Mantar would like you believe. The Nordic influence and scope is injected throughout a majority of the songs. Specifically “Schwanenstein” and the final nail in the coffin of this album “Sundowning.” The ladder of which sounds heavily influenced by slower, second wave Black Metal and even, dare I write it, The Ruins of Beverast. But it’s not to mean that Mantar steal or ape other bands sounds. In reality, they take whatever sounds good to them and mold it into what fits best into their end game plan.
As Ode To The Flame scorches its way across the extreme music scene, one fact is very clear about Mantar. They have joined the illustrious ranks of Jucifer, Lightning Bolt and 5ive as being two humans that when combined together absolutely melt faces. A testament to the fact that sometimes you really don’t need a full on, four, five or six piece project to make devastating music. A fact that a number of bands seem to forget as their ranks swell in order to overdose records and venues with sheer numbers. But having a giant posse rolling into a stage doesn’t always equate to massive destruction. What’s important is having the passion, drive and vision to craft something of this caliber; it takes a special breed to muster all these attributes and combine them into a simmering cauldron of hate and rage. Mantar have achieved this and then some with Ode To The Flame; proving that sometimes, less is most certainly more.
MANTAR play Psycho Las Vegas This August 26th to 28th