Man­tar

Metal Hammer (UK) - - Subterrane­a Albums -

THE MOD­ERN ART OF SET­TING ABLAZE

NU­CLEAR BLAST

GER­MAN DUO ADD MORE OXY­GEN TO THE FLAMES

AS A QUICK

re­fresher, let’s re­call that this Ger­man duo’s discog­ra­phy reads like so: Death By Burn­ing, Ode To The Flame and, now, The Mod­ern Art Of Set­ting Ablaze. So fire is a topic gui­tarist/ vo­cal­ist Hanno Klänhardt and drum­mer Erinc Sakarya have wo­ven into their band over the course of six years. For our science know-noth­ings and chem­istry dropout read­ers, know that heat, oxy­gen, fuel and a chem­i­cal re­ac­tion are the nec­es­sary in­gre­di­ents for fire’s ex­is­tence; all four are re­quired and the more you add of any, the big­ger the con­fla­gra­tion. Man­tar have al­ways worked to sound more ex­pan­sive with their two-piece line-up, but putting metaphor­i­cal in­ter­est into prac­tice, this al­bum em­ploys more in­stru­men­tal lay­ers, tex­tures, ef­fects and a rhyth­mic thump that con­nects both in­tel­lec­tu­ally and pri­mor­dially.

Al­bum opener The Know­ing crescen­dos into the twisted tri-tone trib­al­ism of Age Of The Ab­surd, a filthy spire of mid-paced ooze pop­u­lat­ing a black hole be­tween Slayer and Neu­ro­sis. Seek + For­get com­ple­ments a more straight-ahead, four-on-the-floor rock feel with du­elling gui­tars, walk­ing bass and swelling strains of key­boards. Dy­nasty Of Nails and Midgard Ser­pent (Sea­sons Of Fail­ure) are gnash­ing and un­teth­ered flail­ings at per­sonal is­sues and so­ci­etal demons, while Eter­nal Re­turn could be the Melvins fer­ally mix­ing, mash­ing (and mosh­ing, for that mat­ter) dif­fer­ent seg­ments of Speak English Or Die. All of the above, it should be noted, is much more ex­cit­ing than the band’s oc­ca­sional ma­noeu­vre into mo­men­tum­stem­ming, sparse and slo-mo doom ter­ri­tory and the per­sis­tent stac­cato of Hanno’s vo­cal de­liv­ery, which can wear thin after 40-plus min­utes.

There’s the mat­ter of how the ad­di­tional thick­ness pro­pel­ling this al­bum is go­ing to come across in a live set­ting, but as a stand­alone work, this al­bum tran­scends sludge me­tal tropes with in­creased den­sity and dy­nam­ics that shat­ter lim­i­ta­tions and pre­con­cep­tions of Man­tar’s pared-down line-up.

FOR FANS OF: MELVINS, BLACK TUSK, IN­TER ARMA

CON­NIE GOR­DON

man­tar: twistedfir­e-starters

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