Released: 2014, Svart Records
Reviewer: Metal-Rules.com UK Team
'Heavy as fuck' and 'no bass' are two phrases which usually don't go together. That is, unless you're German blackened doom duo Mantar, who manage to create a thick and monolithic sound with only vocals, guitar and drums. Their latest offering 'Death by Burning' is a slab of riff-laden goodness with a sharp injection of punk.
The vocals are ugly in the best possible way. Shouty and gritty, frontman Hanno combines this with groovy guitar work encrusted with fuzz which create the ultimate experience for any sludge fan. Second track 'Cult Witness' introduces heavy chuggery, but this doesn't get monotonous as the sheer desperation of the vocals command the attention, as well as some screeching occult sound effects in the background.
This touch of the esoteric makes a subtle yet effective addition to ease the black metal influences in as the album progresses. Sure enough, 'Astral Kannibal' brings forth abrasive, punky black metal groove; this concept may make some people shudder but it's impossible to not bob your head to this one. Mantar's fondness for black metal fully rears its evil head in 'White Nights', unleashing demonic riffs and wholly proving their versatility.
The band even include a spoken word piece in the form of 'The Berserkers Path' but the music here doesn't disappoint: absolutely battering drums and monstrous riffs represent the song title with flag held high as well as the sheer power that Mantar are capable of unleashing.
There are only a few moments where the lack of bass becomes noticeable. 'Swinging the Eclipse' is a monumental track but the lack of low end rumble makes it sound like it is missing a dimension. Such a shame as there is so much more crushing potential here.
This record will literally mow down all that gets in its way. The band pride themselves on 'no gimmicks' and that's exactly what you get here: pure, hammer-to-the-face doom.
Overall, a weighty release which has set the bar high for music in 2014.
Review by Beth Avison