“Ode To The Flame”

By Dr. Abner Mality

What kind of band is Germany’s Mantar? I’m not really sure, but one word definitely applies to them and that is “heavy”. This two man unit is not really easy to classify in terms of subgenre but no one can deny their affinity for loud, heavy riffing.

At times, these guys seem to be drawing influence from primitive extreme metal like Celtic Frost and Obituary, especially on cuts like “Carnal Rising” and “Era Borealis”. Those are thick, mighty slabs of aural concrete propelled by straightforward drumming. But then there’s a side of Mantar that seems more influenced by noise rock and modern metal….that side arises on “The Hint” and “Born Reversed”. There’s even some groove metal going on here. And traces of church organ on “I Omen” and “Schwanenstein” add yet another layer. So what kind of metal does Mantar play? Beats me, let’s just call it heavy.

No bass here, just pure guitar and drum. Everything is pretty stripped down except for the rare occasions when that organ appears. The vocals are raspy and raw, but not like typical death or black metal. The drumming is ferocious and often equals the impact of the guitar. Some tunes here I really dig, like “Era Borealis” and the closing “Sundowning”….others just sound too modern to me. Mantar is too oldschool for the new age metallers…too modern for the old schoolers. They do their own thing and if you don’t get it, I don’t think they care.

A raw slab of stripped down heaviness that can sound like anything from Helmet to Celtic Frost to Lamb of God. Make of that what you will.