Mantar is a relatively new formation in the metal panorama. In the timespan of less than six years, however, they have already gained the attention of both fans and critics. They play a special and intriguing version of sludge metal with strong influences and dynamics taken from groove and hardcore. The sound is definitely raw, harsh and abrasive, but the riffs are in many sections faster, more immediate and catchy as what you would expect from a typical sludge record. And that’s a further demonstration – if it were still needed – that good music fluctuates without restrictions between styles and musical genres, incorporationg all the good things that are found in every musical domain and without being forced to respect those tags and attributes that many listeners need to see assigned to everything they listen to. Just to give you an idea, one of the description that I found associated to Mantar was “Blackened Doom Punk” (!).
Another characteristic, or peculiarity, of Mantar’s sound derives from the fact that the formation is essentially a combo of guitar and drums, with no bass. In spite of such basic formation, however, these two guys from Hamburg manage to produce and play a kind of metal that is heavy, solid and compact like very few other formations can do, both in studio and during their ferocious live acts.
The Modern Art Of Setting Ablaze, which is Mantar’s third and most recent full-lenght album, represents a further step forward in the process of maturation and consolidation of the band’s sound. The LP starts perhaps a little slow and sligthly out of focus, but after a few songs the album gains in precision and effectiveness and it literally explodes into one of the most impressive and exciting sonic attacks that I could appreciate in recent times.
In summary: after two promising and introductory LPs, Mantar have now released the album that could guarantee them a remarkable growth in popularity within the extreme metal scene. It is no coincidence, thus, that many of the pieces that we find in their new record look as they were conceived to be played in front of large and unrestrained crowds.
My favorite tracks are: Dynasty Of Nails, Midgard Serpent (Seasons Of Failure) and Anti Eternia.