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2evanc2891gh5, 67 guests

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Mandragora - Carnal Cage

Mandragora
Carnal Cage
by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 25 June 2012, 9:54 AM

When I read about these guys prior to the listening session to their sophomore album in a hot summer morning, I thought that since they have been playing a melodic kind of Death Metal for some time now that their initial approach would resemble the Swedish example. However, I was proven wrong. Without taking hints of the modern Metalcore that succumbed many good bands with its far reaching clutches, the Lithuanian band MANDRAGORA went towards a different kind of Death Metal while trying to maximize their originality. Though I believe that there is still a way to go for them in that department, this group is exciting and has some amount of freshness. Now I can see how they got to play in the Wacken Metal Battle back in 2008, there is something good going here. “Carnal Cage” comes as album number two for the band after nearly seven years since their debut and the first one to be releases through the Italian label of SG Records. Is it something to be proud of? Sure it is but it is only the beginning.

Let me broaden up my view of the band’s musical perception. Unlike the Swedish manifest that took influences from NWOBHM or basically IRON MAIDEN type of harmonies plus several pointers from 80s Euro Power Metal, MANDRAGORA’s manner towards melodies and harmonies, and their riffing style, led them to darker places. Yes they couldn’t, and probably wouldn’t, shake the IRON MAIDENish features, though those weren’t that common on their album. However, there have been definite old and new school Thrash Metal driven riffing that have something to do with the Bay Area style, something in the range of TESTAMENT and SLAYER.Nevertheless, don’t expect a Thrash party as that riffing style is only a small ingredient of the entire package. The band shifts from being rhythm or riff based to lead oriented that provided some astounding prospects. There were several examples of a few catchy melodies that I didn’t hear a lot in the Swedish version of the genre. On the other hand, I don’t believe that MANDRAGORA started something new or highly unordinary, though it is not that easy to compare them to other acts as it looks like they took a little from everything while composing the material. Probably that is the reason why they were able to attract my ears so much.

With “Walk To Fall” the band exemplified the pure elegance of the term “Taking From Everything” (If there is such a term as I think I just made it up). It starts with a bursting melody influenced by 80s IRON MAIDEN creative composure and develops into quite a diverse track that even reaches a few catchy moments despite the non melodic growls of the band’s vocalist, which stretched between low grunts and mid high ends (nearly throughout the release). “The Unknown” and “Curse of Existence” are steps outside the usual melodic Death Metal niche and into a darker path of Gothic and Doom Metal, something similar to AMORPHIS and PARADISE LOST. What amazed me was how the vocals were infused to the rhythms in such a manner that those fitted like a velvet glove. Moreover, over the atmosphere, which was created by the guitars and a few tweaks of keyboards, that is plainly magnificent. Definitely this is a great album and it should be noticed, go on ahead and buy it right away.

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Masquerade
2. In Doubt
3. Desolated Fields
4. Unconsciousness
5. Curse of Existence
6. Walk to Fall
7. The Unknown
8. Sand and Dust
9. After 
Lineup:
Gražvydas Zujus- Vocals
Rimas Ganseniauskas- Guitar
Kirill Degtiarenko- Guitar
Almantas Jasiūnas- Bass
Vilius Stašauskas- Drums
Record Label: SG Records
     


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