Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Mantar - "Ode To The Flame" (Album Review)

By: Phil Weller

Album Type: Full Length
Date Released: 15/04/2016
Label: Nuclear Blast

Mantar don’t take prisoners, but one listen to “Ode To The Flame” will have you wanting to fall victim to their blackened boogie again and again.

“Ode To The Flame” CD//DD//LP track listing:

1. Carnal Rising (2:32)
2. Praise The Plague (4:20)
3. Era Borealis (4:00)
4. The Hint (5:02)
5. Born Reversed (3:27)
6. Oz (3:26)
7. I Omen (4:50)
8. Cross The Cross (4:41)
9. Schwanenstein (6:23)
10. Sundowning (5:14)
The Review:

If, by the emphatic clarion call chorus of “Era Bolearis”, Mantar's second full length album hasn't punctured your ears and stunned you into a weirdly invigorating awe, then those harshly hollered words will put that right. "This is Era Bolearis" screams guitarist/vocalist Hanno, with passion and anger boiling in his throat. For a band founded on a musical viscerealism which smashes black metal's smog draped atmospherics and rock n' roll's intrinsic shuffle and swing together and calls the consequent bloody mess its own, you feel the German duo have, staggeringly, one-upped themselves. This is a potent reminder as to why they have affirmed such a strong cult following, which includes the decision makers at their new label Nuclear Blast.

Death By Burning” was a hugely praised debut, but “Ode To The Flame”, whose title continues both the incendiary semantics of its predecessor as well as its performances, may be darker and more threatening, but it never loses sight of the magic that made that record so damnably fun. For, as heavy as “Death By Burning” was, it wasn't all about fire and fury; beneath its mask was a lighter, more accessible side that made it more than just an aural assault. It's hard to describe what exactly that was, but suffice to say that, whatever it was that compulsively curled that smile on your face as it played out remains. The fact that their residing magic is so mysterious - its appearance omnipresent but always obscured - makes Mantar even more enticing.

They masterfully blast through the cancerous, blackened boogie of “Praise The Plague”, its latter stages joyously virile, while “Born Reversed” sounds like Nergal drowning Down in the swamp from whence they came. They stand as two distinct highlights which, for a band self-described as ‘black metal doom punk’, prove that sometimes the strangest combinations of flavours make the most memorable of dishes.

“Oz” leans much closer to their black metal side, building a punk infused dance ability into the foundations of shadowy tremolo guitar work. Here, and on “The Hint” they continue to express intelligence through dynamics, where the noise and the chaos will drop solely to lowly, gunshot toms, razor sharp vocals slicing the gaps.

Hanno mutates his guitar into a chastising organ on the sacrilegious “I Omen”, and “Cross To Cross” portrays rampant riffwork as a lawnmower possessed.  Sundowning” closes the album, ensuing apocalyptic results through chugs, explosions and a sound that, as furious as it may be, couldn’t be more compelling.

Mantar don’t take prisoners, but one listen to “Ode To The Flame” will have you wanting to fall victim to their blackened boogie again and again.

Ode to the Flame” is available now

Band info: facebook

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