'The Modern Art of Setting Ablaze' opens with the stark but beautiful track 'The Knowing' which sounds like it has been lifted straight from a horror movie soundtrack, so when the next track 'Age of the Absurd' comes on, the change of pace is a little shocking but a good one at that. 'Age...' really optimises what Mantar are: hardcore enough for punks but equally dark enough for the metalheads too. They effortlessly blend different elements together to make something that is new, different and highly refreshing.
The German two-piece demonstrate such raw aggression that it feels oddly familiar, probably because it was pulled from our souls and funnelled through their instruments. With its battering blasts and gargantuan, inky groove, 'Dynasty of Nails' demonstrates this perfectly. Moving on to a hidden, near-the-end gem, 'The Formation of Night' is pure, primal beauty that'll make you want to simultaneously sway and head-bang, and the lyrics, “Some say the world will end with fire, well so do we," are pure, apocalyptic poetry.
Finally, 'The Funeral' is nothing short of a giant middle finger up to the world and certainly no less than what we expect from Mantar. “I don't want you to wear black when I die because I am better than you" is the drawn-out
sludge the fills the ears and oozes down the neck in dark rivulets of churning aggression - beautiful.
For a duo, Mantar fill a soundscape with a sound that feels stadium-sized. They pull you in and scream through your soul and still it shines with raw beauty. Go buy this album, it's good.
'The Modern Art of Setting Ablaze' is out now on Nuclear Blast