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Manticora - To Kill to Live to Kill Award winner

To Kill to Live to Kill
by Dave "That Metal Guy" Campbell at 20 June 2018, 12:23 PM

From Copenhagen, Denmark, comes the quintet MANTICORA, with their new album “To Kill to Live to Kill;” their first new album in eight years. It’s a concept album; the first of two, based on the horror novel written by singer Lars F. Larsen, that the band has spent the last three years writing. The album contains twelve tracks.

“Piano Concerto 1” is a brief one-minute opener. It has a sweet sound, with trumpets, piano and strings. In fact it is a pretty good guise to what follows in “Echoes of a Silent Scream.” The clouds darken threateningly as heavy thunder rolls in. Stylistically it’s somewhere in the realm of a marriage of Power and Thrash metal, with aggressive riffing and vocals in a high registry. The ominous sound is as a warning of sorts, especially when considering the supporting harsh vocals that rear up sporadically. “Through the Eyes of the Killer – Towering Over You” has a heavy and speedy sound. Along the way there are some riff and tempo variations which keep it a diverse listening experience. One thing you can also hear is attention to a complete songwriting process.

“Katana – Awakening the Lunacy” has an instrumental opening with dark leanings. The vocals bring in some brighter elements at times but overall it remains in the shadows. It has layers as well and at times is reminiscent of IRON MAIDEN. “The Farmer’s Tale Pt. 1 – The Aftermath of Indifference” has some real chaos at first, but drops to a sweet instrumental passage before the big chorus hits. The Symphonic elements are there in between spaces but smartly never take over the song. The contrast between the heavier and softer moments is very well done here. “The Devil in Lisbon” is a six-minute instrumental with plenty of meaty guitar work. Though it holds down a central core, it twists and turns nicely. I would be remiss if I did not mention the thunderous drumming of Dinamarca, who plays with the confidence as if he was in the band all along.

“Growth” is the behemoth song on the album, at close to ten minutes in length. At first it has a swinging rhythm, with vocals sung and answered back. It the settles into a mid-temp groove with some melancholy tones. There is some nimble guitar and bass work in an extended instrumental section. “Humiliation Machine” is an instrumental with a blistering pace. The fire spreads so quickly that you can only see the trail of smoke left behind. “Nothing Lasts Forever” opens with frail piano notes and strings. Spoken words lament the loss of a parent. The slower pace really opens up the song emotionally and steals hope from the world. Some of the connections in the key of the vocals and the music here don’t match to well however. “Katana – Opium” opens with a passage that has some Melodic Death Metal sound for me, but it moves to more of a Power Metal sound, with steady double bass and fast picked guitars. There is absolutely blistering lead guitar work here as well as shifting meters that they hit with deadly accuracy.

“Through the Eyes of the Killer – Revival of the Muse that is Violence” takes another darker turn in the journey. There are some more downtrodden elements here but also some get-up-and-go in the music. Closing this beast of a concept album is the song “The Farmer’s Tale Pt. 2 – Annihilation at the Graves.” It has a culminating sound, mixing in clean and harsh vocals with doses of diverse passages that leave you guessing what might come next. Raging at times and reflective at others, it brings you to the end of the tale. This was a roaring juggernaut of a concept album, an after a few listens you can tell why something like this took so long to compose. Impeccable musicianship and a willingness to let the songs go in places that you might not expect really create something special to listen to. It does take some patience to really dig into the inner workings of the album, and you have to be willing to do so. On the cohesiveness of the music and story, songwriting and tightness of their performance, it’s a more than worthy effort in just that area alone. In the arena of ambitious efforts, it’s near the top, but the band pulled it off convincingly.

Songwriting: 9
Originality: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

1. Piano Concerto 1 – B Flat Minor
2. Echoes of a Silent Scream
3. Through the Eyes of the Killer – Towering Over You
4. Katana – Awakening the Luncacy
5. The Farmer’s Tale Pt. 1 – The Aftermath of Indifference
6. The Devil in Lisbon
7. Growth
8. Humiliation Supreme
9. Nothing Lasts Forever
10. Katana – Opium
11. Through the Eyes of the Killer – Revival of the Muse that is Violence
12. The Farmer’s Tale Pt. 2 – Annihilation at the Graves
Kristian Larsen – Guitars
Lars F. Larsen – Vocals
Stefan Johansson – Guitars
Sebastian “Ceppe” Andersen – Bass
Lawrence Dinamarca – Drums (session)
Record Label: ViciSolum Productions


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