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Manntra - Oyka!

by Lior "Steinmetal" Stein at 13 August 2019, 10:22 PM

It is not every day that I stumble upon an album that simply lets me sit back and listen to the flowing vibes of relaxation. Well, this is no Lounge music release nor an instrumental, it does crosses barriers, but overall it serves its purpose as if it was light reading. “Oyka!”, released via NoCut Entertainment, is the new album by the Croatian Modern Folk Metal clan of MANNTRA. Without nonsense, like several of the stray cats of the trendy Metal subgenre, these guys actually make sense, but in mood that could have gone into the radio airwaves.

Other than being a refreshing cohesion between Folk driven ELUVEITIE and TYR, with enough dosage of the non-extreme characters of modern day AMORPHIS, and sprites of the Industrialism of CREMATORY, the Croatians are set to dominate with catchy songwriting, a sort of a hit machine. The music under the platter is simple, not too riff melodic, rather the harder stuff that could make you bang your head, yet that drive hits with a variety of instrumentation that is bound by Folk oriented mindset, pretty well integrated into the songs. Furthermore, there is the outstanding vocal line, thanks to Marko Matijević Sekul, which proved to be a dominant front man with more than your average skill at just singing.

Honestly, I would have used some of the band’s songs as a candidacy for the Eurovision Song Contest. Just listen to “Oyka!” or the hit “Yelena” as an idea. Both are into the band’s comfort zone, easy and steady, enticing the mood. However, if you wish for just a little depth, and the harder edges of a Metallic rage, you should tune to “In the Shadows”, “Murter” and “Nevera”. Don’t get me wrong, you won’t be listening to growls or sorts, the music might be heavier on certain points, and the vocals are charging from time to time, bits of emotive aspects never hurt, yet no extremity on this one.

I believe that MANNTRA didn’t really need that extra show of force with a live performance of “Yelena”, on its own it is a powerful tune, which I believe will get them to places, especially when it comes to the edges of the mainstream. Same goes for the Croatian version of the ultra-catchy “Murter” that its German version in the tracklist is much more persuasive.

“Oyka!” is a modern Folk Metal album done right in terms of the market. Die-harders of the heavier end of the subgenre might not find themselves here, nonetheless, an open mind never killed anyone.

4 Star Rating

1. Oyka!
2. Yelena
3. Murter (German version, feat. Michael Rhein)
4. Dance
5. In the Shadows
6. Everlasting
7. Fire in the Sky
8. Nevera
9. Rakhia
10. Sanjaj
11. Murter (Croatian version)
12. Yelena (Live)
Andrea Kert - Drums
Boris Kolarić - Guitar / Bagpipes /Mandolina
Marko "Pure" Purišić - Guitar
Maja Kolarić - Bass
Marko Matijević Sekul - Vocals / Guitar / Synth
Record Label: NoCut Entertainment


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