Released: 2009, Nuclear Blast Records
Reviewer: Lord of the Wasteland
Back in October 2007, our own Luxi Lahtinen reviewed an independently-released CD by Meltdown called EXECUTIONER, praising it as an old-school thrash CD by a new-school thrash band. Fast forward eighteen months and we have the same band—newly rechristened as Mantic Ritual due to legal issues—releasing the same record with new cover art under the Nuclear Blast Records banner. Hailing from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Mantic Ritual is composed of four young guys who suckled at the breast of Destruction, Exodus and Kreator and rather than throw a modern spin on it, this does indeed sound like a record that fell out of 1986, no doubt assisted by producer Andy Classen (Krisiun) and the fact EXECUTIONER was recorded in the heavy metal motherland of Germany. Rapid-fire riffs, deep-pocketed grooves, wicked double bass and searing vocals combine to form a killer thrash record that will appeal to old-and new-schoolers alike.
“One By One” opens with a galloping, NWOBHM-style guitar salvo but the intensity is quickly stepped up and never subsides over the dozen cuts on EXECUTIONER. The title track, “Panic” and “Thrashatonement” are sure-fire bets for pure pit mayhem. Drummer Adam Haritan unloads with a burning vengeance on “Murdered To Death” while the guitars of Dan Wetmore (whose vocal style sounds like Dee Snider fronting Kreator) and Jeff Potts cut like poison-tipped razorwire. The main riff and tempo of “Next Attack” borrows heavily from Metallica’s “Seek & Destroy” but the groovy intro and plethora of guitar solos make it one of the album’s standout tracks. “Double The Blood” and “Black Tar Sin” go on far too long at over seven minutes apiece but overall, EXECUTIONER is a tightly-wound slab of hard-hitting classic thrash metal.
After seeing Mantic Ritual open for Destruction, it is clear these guys are true thrash maniacs. The thrash revival must be a godsend to bands like Mantic Ritual who have had the strike of the beast coursing through their veins and can finally let their influences shred in the public eye. It’s time to throw the denim vest over the leather jacket and slip on those comfy hightops because Mantic Ritual is here to take fans back to a time when thrash metal was raw, ugly and violent on EXECUTIONER.
KILLER KUTS: “One By One,” “Executioner,” “Murdered To Death,” “Panic,” “Thrashatonement,” “Next Attack”