MANTAR “Pain Is Forever And This Is The End”
By Dr. Abner Mality
Every few years these guys pop up and the more hipster division of the metal press loses their shit over them. Then they soon disappear without a ripple again. Well, it’s time for MANTAR to surface once more, this time on Metal Blade with an album title that sets itself up for parody right away. Or maybe it’s getting too close for comfort…
Anyhoo, let me dive into it. How to describe MANTAR? Well, they certainly are not what I would call death, black or thrash metal. But they are quite heavy and morose. Their deceptively simple and basic style seems to come more from early 90’s noise rock and punk than traditional metal sources. Yet the anger and aggression is here. “Egoisto” sets the tone with thick riffs and an abrasive sound...the drumming is very prominent and on point. The vocals drove me crazy with trying to figure out who they sounded like. Then it hit me...the dude sounds exactly like the lead singer for the cult industrial metal band TESTIFY (who you should check out immediately). It’s got a raspy sneer to it that transmits a lot of vitriol with going into black or death extremity.
MANTAR’s music is framed around basic, catchy riffs that have more subtlety than is first apparent. “Grim Reaping” starts almost with trad-metal tones before veering off into loud, plodding noise rock. “Of Frost And Decay” has an appropriately “cold” sound. “Walking Corpse” has a pop-punkiness to it that didn’t wear that well with me. The last two cuts “Horder” and “Odysseus” are more expansive and experimental. Fans of post-punk and noise rock will enjoy them the most, but they have a way heavier tone than most of those genre’s.
It’s an odd one, but with enough intrigue to keep me listening. Will MANTAR break out this time or will they submerge for another 2 or 3 years after this? Only time will tell, but I think the latter is more likely.