Saturday 26 March 2016

MANTAR - Ode To The Flame (Album Review)

Release date: April 15th 2016. Label: Nuclear Blast Records. Format: CD/DD/Vinyl

Ode To The Flame – Tracklisting

1.Carnal Rising
2.Praise The Plaque
3.Era Borealis
4.The Hint
5.Born Reversed
7.I, Omen
8.Cross The Cross

Band Members:

Hanno – Vocals/Guitar
Erinc – Drums/Vocals


Mantar are back with the follow up to their highly acclaimed "Death By Burning" album released back in 2014. And they're back in fine form, picking up where they left off the last time, but seemingly not happy to just repeat what's gone before.

Album opener "Carnal Rising" is a short sharp blast of Black Metal tinged punk as fuck sludge, which is the perfect way to kick things off. It bears the distinctive sound that this two man riff machine have perfectly honed during their time together, but hints that there is more to come throughout this record.

And Mantar don't fail to deliver on that promise. You can tell at all times throughout "Ode To The Flame" that this is a Mantar record, but everything seems more intense. Yeah, you read that right. More intense. The riffs are more developed, and the drums are even more aggressive and expressive than before and the vocals filled with even more spite and passion.

"Era Borealis" and the magnificent "Born Reversed" show that whilst this record may be heavier and more aggressive than previous efforts, Mantar are not afraid to deliver riffs and hooks a plenty. SO many hooks. Like a fucking pirate convention.....

Track 7 "I Omen" sees something different happening. A Hammond Organ (or something along those lines) opens the track, before business as normal as Hanno unleashes that familiar growl over some more blackened and fucking filthy riffs.

The album closes on the ridiculous "Sundowning" which for me is the not only the standout track of the album, but so far the year. Honestly it's that fucking good. Growled vocals, over long drawn out cords backed up by the thunderous tom work of Erinc Sakarya, switch masterfully between more up tempo sections and the ending is about as punk rock as you could wish for, as everything fades away leaving just the drums to conclude the track.

My first introduction to Mantar was on the live stage, and if you've seen them you know just how furious and exciting they are to watch, coupled with their set up on stage of playing opposite one another (Sideways drums). Mantar deliver that ferocity in spades on record as well. 2016 has already seen some monstrous releases with even more to follow, but for me so far this record is sitting in pole position.

Words by Simon Ross Williams

Ode To The Flame will be available to buy on CD/DD/Vinyl from NuclearBlast Records USA and Nuclear Blast Records Europe on April 15th 2016.