Mantar – “The Modern Art Of Setting Ablaze” (Nuclear Blast)
Battle Helm Rating
Well if you haven’t been introduced to the half German / half Turkish duo of Hanno Klänhardt (guitars / vocals) and Erinç Sakarya (drums / vocals), then prepare yourself for an extreme mix of black metal doom punk – like Darkthrone meeting the Melvins and Motörhead – Bremen style! If you’re wondering about the absence of a bass player then straight away I’ll let you know that in between Hanno’s ultra down tuned guitar played through monster bass cabs and Erinç’s bludgeoning battery there’s little need for one, and give how they uniquely face each other side onto the crowd when onstage, you’d pity any poor fool who’d try and stand in between them heh heh! Since their inception in 2012, the duo of Mantar (which, incidentally means ‘mushroom’ in Turkish) have released 2 prior albums and launched countless live assaults. Now comes “The Modern Art Of Setting Ablaze” and it’s hardly a lightweight, containing 12 brutal and noisy tracks made all the more dangerous by the cynical intellect of the duo. It’s clear right from the cover, which is no attempt at pretence but is an actual 1936 relief called ‘Bringer of Light’ by a German artist who claimed it depicted the victory of the Third Reich, only for them to denounce it as degenerate and exclude the artist too, and is now embarrassingly hanging over a Bremen side street as no one knows what to do with it, setting an ominous tone in what appears to be the repetitive cycle in popularist politics. If there is a ‘message’ then it’s not about being ‘left wing’ or ‘right wing’, ‘right’ or ‘wrong’ – whatever – but thinking for yourself, and it’s pretty hard to ignore given the intensity of the music on show here. Belying the ambient feedback intro, the drum barrage on ‘Eternal Return’ sets the mood as the syrup thick guitars give way to a slick black n roll groove with Hanno’s throat raw vocals fighting through the noise maelstrom. Slowing things down while increasing the dirt on ‘Anti Eternia’, Hanno’s sickly drawls lead the foray of feedback, dark chiming melodies and massive guitars while Erinç really shows his talent through some very cool percussive back beats without relenting on his obvious power, together producing this malevolent monster rocker. Increasing the throttle on ‘Teeth Of The Sea’ into a catchy black rock groove contrasted by Hanno’s rasps, the song alternates between ambience and noisy speed before slowing things down for a mammoth sludge head bang towards the end – fantastic! Widely regarded as crucial in any band’s career, this all important 3rd release see’s Mantar surpass themselves in……well, just being themselves.