Raucous Mantar keep piling on muscle, finesse to their sludgy sound on edgy ‘Pain Is Forever…’

Photo by Matthis Van Der Meulen

Heaviness can only take a band or artist so far, because it’s not that difficult to achieve this level of extreme. There has to be more behind it, some actual substance, for the weight of the music to truly have a force behind it. Anything less is just music play loudly and aggressively that doesn’t make you feel full and satisfied when the noise ends.

German duo Mantar—vocalist/guitarist Hanno Klänhardt, drummer Erinc Sakarya—always have had plenty of aggression and substance to their music, but they decided to take things a little further on their crushing Metal Blade debut record “Pain Is Forever and This Is the End.” No one ever accused them of cutting corners, but this time around, the band focused more on the songwriting end and less on the heaviness, and they came out with 10 tracks that spark, punch, and give off a hearty beating that feels rich and fully realized. These songs are fun and feel loose and energetic, and while the band didn’t concentrate on this aspect, are plenty heavy. Also, being on a legendary label with a huge following will expose Mantar to even more people, and they could not have put a stronger foot forward.

“Egoisto” gets this going with the guitars trudging and throaty wails pounding away, feeling melodic and grisly. Throaty howls smother, the riffs encircle and sizzle, and the chorus punishes one last time. “Hang ‘Em Low (So the Rats Can Get ‘Em)” sounds like such an obvious lead single, a thing I guess still exists. Guitars jolt as the raspy vocals leave welts on your flesh, scraping and swelling, delivering a chorus that fills you with adrenaline and puts out your lights. “Grim Reaping” arrives with a strong riff that punches in as the track lights up and fill its lungs with soot. “Everything dies in the end!” Klänhardt howls, powering through a simple but killer chorus, ending with the final jab, “Misery knows your name.” “Orbital Pus” brings aggravated speak-singing, the drums leaving bruising, and gruff goodness that makes your blood surge. The assault continues as the guitars build and dual howls punish, leading into “Piss Ritual” that fires up right away. The vocals snarl and spit nails, and the duo pumps out black metal-friendly playing, steamrolling with speed as Klänhardt vows, “You ain’t seen nothing yet!”

“Of Frost and Decay” starts with cleaner guitars and a foggy aura before the first punches are thrown, and gnarly vocals chew their way into the scene. The track gets dark and moody as Klänhardt repeatedly shouts, “Wait to fail!” over the chorus. Electricity bubbles as the drums unload, melting into the earth. “Walking Corpse” brings strangling riffs and the vocals rustling, with Klänhardt howling, “There’s no remorse for what you’ve done.” A blistering punk feels melts faces, punching out and moving into “New Age Pagan” that stings the flesh right away. Riffs bulldoze as the singing is smoother but just as nasty, a heavy groove ripping through chests. The chorus washes through, guitars jab, and a vicious finish adds an exclamation point. “Horder” begins gently, but that’s a ruse, because before you know it, the fuel is dumped on the flames. “Get up, get down, get born again,” Klänhardt taunts as the guitars slash, and the pace gets punchier. The track seems ready to dissolve, but it’s another tease as the playing rips anew, delivering one final rousing chorus. “Odysseus” is the closer, leaning in with an ominous riff, buzzing and gnawing. Klänhardt’s singing is a little cleaner but still leaves bruises, and some of the track even feels kind of poppy. Melodies wash over as the energy soars, letting your juices flow one more time before fading into the darkness.

Mantar’s climb through the world of heavy music has been fascinating to watch as they’ve added muscle and grit and even more approachability on “Pain Is Forever and This Is the End.” While the sound is more streamlined, it’s still a brawl over these 10 tracks and still has a heavy share of thorns to drive into your side. With metallic superpower Metal Blade behind them, Mantar’s direction is up, and these 41 minutes are filled with power to sway the masses in their bloody direction.

For more on the band, go here: https://www.facebook.com/MantarBand

To buy the album, go here: https://www.metalblade.com/mantar/

For more on the label, go here: https://www.metalblade.com/us/

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