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Mentor - Wolves, Wraiths and Witches Award winner

Mentor
Wolves, Wraiths and Witches
by Leanne "Metal Maiden" Evans at 18 February 2022, 2:07 AM

The blasphemous blackened thrashers, MENTOR, are back with their third release, “Wolves, Wraiths and Witches”. Picking up where they left their debut full-length, “Guts, Graves and Blasphemy”, the uncompromising quartet have produced a record that merges the darkness of VENOM, the speed of MIDNIGHT and the boisterous, youthful energy of early DEATH ANGEL, with the addition of crusty hardcore tinges thrown in for good measure. Okay, so Metal Temple is a little late to the party reviewing this badboy (it was released on 17th November 2021) and my God, do I wish I’d been given this tasty slab of unadulterated, no-strings-attached dark thrash sooner. The genre is currently thriving, with some personal highlights of 2021 coming in the form of KNIFE and ETERNAL EVIL, and MENTOR’s release would have comfortably nestled in my top picks of the black-thrash niche.

“Wolves, Wraiths and Witches” focuses on the intersection of occultism and B-horror movies; rest assured, a sonic journey of the dark and depraved awaits. To kickstart, “Equal in the Fire” unleashes hell from the off, with vocals that are uncannily similar to Mark Osegueda of DEATH ANGEL. Chunky bass work is the beating heart of the track, set in amongst punchy double-kick drum work, pummelling at hellish speed, incendiary and roaring with high-energy. It’s the speed metal element that complements the thematic so brilliantly, “Satan’s Snake-handlers” fuelled by high-octane riffs and drums that only speed metal can deliver. The devilish guitar solo mid-way will have you high on frenzied, cloven finger work, while the prominent bassline will act as the best post-coital cigarette of your life. It’s reminiscent of MOTÖRHEAD, oozing with depth and prowess, with the spewing seduction of “Fed After Midnight” irresistibly beckoning you to lusty soundscapes, but at breakneck speed.

The gnarly progression of “Wolves, Wraiths and Witches” takes us to the overtly aggressive, embittered hardcore track “The Great Grave in the Sky”. Violently cloaked in undulating anger, ripping with abyssal bassline and blistering vocals, this is a cut that doesn’t mince its words or instrumental aggression, offering solid neck-wrecking pleasure. The thrash output picks up in “Creature Feature”, carrying galloping drums, intoxicating riffs and harking back to something in the vein of DEATH ANGEL, and MENTOR revisits the blackened haven once more in the return of MOTÖRHEAD drenched bass tone in “Dance of the Dead”, a track that flits as much as it snarls. It’s the bludgeoning of MENTOR’s bold and brutal cauldron of nuances that make “Wolves, Wraiths and Witches” such a hypnotic listen, even in amongst pummelling aggression and relentless energy, there’s a somewhat bewitching quality to the full-length. The captivation of this record doesn’t stop there; no, “Blood is Love” has a MERCYFUL FATE “Sold My Soul” vibe with the intro in steady drums and strapping bass yet erupts into a swarm of distorted upbeat wretchedness that somehow carries an allure to it, especially with the contrasting melodic vocals amongst robust growling passages that start to wake you from your stupor. “A Night So Grim” firmly breaks your reverie, delivering the fastest offering on the album, thrusting you back into speed metal territories, with “Sealed in a Tomb” showcasing its dominating and deadly delivery, ending the album with a wolflike display of baring its teeth to cement aggressive intentions.

MENTOR have outdone themselves with this full-length. “Wolves, Wraiths and Witches” is produced with a tinge of rugged sincerity that heightens the record, focusing on delivering the perfect combination of the muscular jaws of thrash, unsparing speed and vicious hardcore, all pleasingly melded to create a weighty, uncompromising collection of roistering cuts you’ll chew up again and again.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 9
Memorability: 9
Production: 9

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Equal in the Fire
2. Satan’s Snake-handlers
3. Fed After Midnight
4. The Great Grave in the Sky
5. Creature Feature
6. Dance of the Dead
7. Blood is Love
8. A Night so Grim
9. Sealed in a Tomb
Lineup:
King of Nothing – Vocals
Raum’s Chord – Guitar
Gusion’s Drone – Bass
Leviathan’s Punch – Drums
Record Label: Pagan Records
     


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