It’s been about 5 years since the last Mantric album “The Descent.” I was about to send out a search party to see where they were. At the time of the release of that first album, Mantric were basically the remnants of the prog metal band Extol. The members of Mantric were the remaining members of that band at the time. Rather than continue as Extol, they became Extol.
Since then, Extol has reformed, albeit without the members now in Mantric. While “The Descent” felt somewhat like a nature if not chaotic evolution of what Extol might become, since Extol has returned, we’ve heard what Extol actually sounds like now. The good thing about all of this is that while the bands share DNA, there are enough exciting differences to make each of them important and relevant.
When I saw that they had released a three song EP called “Die Old,” I listened with much excitement. I’ll admit that while I liked the title track (which is also on “Sin”), I was not overly crazy about the other 2 tracks. Mantric weren’t as daring on those songs and for me, that’s the draw that they have.
Luckily, the full length album “Sin” has enough of the “organized chaos” that I love about Mantric, along with a stronger sense of direction and purpose that wasn’t as clear on their debut. “Sin” has songs that are more direct like the aforementioned “Die Old,” plus “FaithFaker” and “Give Me Eyes.” Please note that I said MORE direct and that does not mean you will hear any of these tracks on the radio!
The band also have songs that are more like I am used to, more experimental, but still have solid yet complex hooks. “On The Horizon” is one of the best tracks and it is basically a mini-epic with three short sections that are distinct yet flow perfectly. “Arrogance vs. Anxiety” shows that Mantric still have the edge that these guys had when they were in Extol. It has a thick, bad ass riff along with enough twists and turns so that you know who you are listening to!
One track that deserves mentioning for creativity alone in “Maranatha” which may have singlehandedly created a new sub-genre. Country doom metal. The song has a banjo intro that yields to a slow doom grind that has a twangy guitar maintaining the banjo riff. BRILLIANT STUFF!!
Mantric is not Extol and that is very clear on “Sin.” There will always be comparisons because it’s too hard not to do that. But “Sin” is an album that shows very clearly that Mantric are indeed their own band and not an offshoot of that other band. Old fans of both bands will find plenty to enjoy on this album. If you like bands who are fearless and do their own thing, Mantric are waiting for you to follow them on this new journey.
2. On The Horizon
3. Give Me Eyes
4. Arrogance vs. Anxiety
5. Die Old
8. In The Shadow Of My Soul
9. Black Eyes