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Mantar - The Modern Art of Setting Ablaze Award winner

The Modern Art of Setting Abaze
by Martin "Doomed" Desbois at 14 August 2018, 9:50 AM

Formed in 2012, the German Power duo is back one year after the release of 2017's EP , "The Spell"."The Modern Art of Setting Ablaze" is their third full length release after "Death by Burning" in 2014 and "Ode to the Flame" in 2016. Those guys are productive. They also produced a live album in 2016 called "St-Paul sessions". MANTAR got into me quite accidentally and lately. I saw them at the Montreal, Canada's Heavy MTL Fesstival in 2016. I was quite impressed by so much melody, power, and presence for a project of only two musicians! They were maximizing the out-power of their respective instruments with real genius.

This album pays respect to earlier release while going farther and much more efficiently.They only keep doing better as the years passes.We got twelve songs. Hannos's vocals are filling much space in the songs i like that kind of effect in his voice, a nice punchy reverb. This is dirty, this is low, this is blackened sludge madness…this is MANTAR. First song "The Knowing" is an interesting intro to let us enter gradually the MANTAR's lair. "Age of the Absurd" starts with a mid-paced guitar and some teel banging that reminds me of some nineties industrial metal or even earlier industrial music like "Throbbing Gristle". Then we head to a more faster approach with black metal inspired percussion. It sounds like TAUCROSS or AMEBIX with a DARKTHRONE influence. Also there is a video available on youtube (link below).

SEEK+FORGET" is such a catchy song, definitively one of my favorite of the album. It has some power riff with breaks to melodic lines added to harsh vocals. Some clean guitar interlude shows another aspect they are capable of in the last half of the song.The main riff used in the first seconds of the song is back for another ride and it give a little plus to the track renewing the interest, all with a stoner like sounding (may sound weird but i heard MELVINS. "Taurus" used a sixth string guitar line ( or did he traded his guitar for a bass in the studio? i guess not) to get a more low notes sound like a bass.The drum is punk influenced by moments and the chorus is sung by Hanno and Erinc together.Their voices fits well entwined in this maelstrom of chaos.

"Midgard Serpent" is referring to "Jormungandr " the mighty serpent encircling "Midgard" (Earth) in norse mythology or "Asatru" religion.Once again the guitar sounds like working as three.Quite nice melodies and really good song overall. It has that late eighties sound.Once again "Amebix" comes to mind, for its atmosphere. The song gets more and more faster, with a few note repeating from the chorus part and make it quite entertaining. "Dynasty of nails" is dirtier.  Very old-school like VENOM or CELTIC FROST to me. Monstrous sound. Screaming it like an anthem. Pounding the nails firmly. I love the rhythm guitar and the change of pace invoking the headbanging beast inside all of us.I LOVE THAT SONG!

"Eternal Return" signs a pact with the black metal god.But after a while it has a great old school death metal nineties feel with the drums and riff. It goes back and forth draining more and more from this dark well, infinite source of thunderous storms and primal energy till the fatal ending. "Obey the Obscene" is very punk structured.Excellent display of chaotic, crust infused, rock n roll. We can hear some organ in the background, discreet. Vocal samplings are used too, like NAPALM DEATH did too a few times. Four minutes that goes fast but all is said and done well. "Anti Eternia" is using a more catchy structure and approach.Quite effective i must say. I'd like to hear that one live. A must play on tour for sure. Riffs are intense and so is the drum.

"The Formation of Night" is a slower one. Amazing action and energy,makes me want to break walls with my shoulders while dancing this waltz of death called "Seduction by riffs"!!! I love that slower approach.At like three minutes from the start, we got a big break of a few seconds and then we are pushed down again that black hole sucking all that's left of our sanity. Till the curtain falls , letting us wanting for some more, yes! There's two more! "Teeth of the Sea" is pure dirty Rock n Roll, Lemmy Would be proud. Fast, ambitious, edgy, energetic, a big slap in the face. Impossible to be bitten by great water? Now you're proven wrong. "The Funeral" is the last but not the least of the album. Apocalyptic drumming and riffing invites us to head-bang and yell again one last time. After we can hear Hanno spreading his words all over: "Waiting for the funeral!!! Waiting for your funeral!!!"If i got it correctly, a song to talk about rites and religion in funerals.And mostly questioning the real need of it.

MANTAR has evolved quite fast and exponentially like his well deserved popularity. This album isn't reinventing the wheel but the way they deliver the rage and loudness s not to be ignored.They are one my favorite bands since 2016 and i'm pretty sure the best is to come, they are just keeping on doing it better each time!

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 8
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. The Knowing
2. Age of the Absurd
3. Seek + Forget
4. Taurus
5. Midgard Serpent (Seasons Of Failure)
6. Dynasty of Nails
7. Eternal Return
8. Obey the Obscene
9. Anti Eternia
10. The Formation ff Night
11. Teeth of the Sea
12. The Funeral
Guitar - Hanno
Drums - Erinc
Record Label: Nuclear Blast Records


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Edited 28 January 2023

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