We have a couple of fine premieres coming later today, and because I devoted some time to writing about those, I didn’t have time to prepare a full SEEN AND HEARD round-up for this Monday — but with a few spare minutes and a bit of a lag in our publication schedule before the first of those premieres is due to arrive, I thought I’d give you a quick hit — two recent songs that made very positive impressions when I heard them this weekend. I might have time for another one of these posts in between those two premieres as well.
I may have mentioned before that Mantar are one of my favorite bands on the planet. And without meaning to detract from the impact of their recordings, they have become one of my favorites because of their live performances, which I’ve been lucky to witness on three occasions. The power and electrifying impact of what these two do on stage can’t really be captured in a studio, in part because they’re so riveting to watch.
Having said that, I’m still eager to hear their new album, The Modern Art Of Setting Ablaze, which will be released by Nuclear Blast on August 24th.
Apart from what I’ve seen and heard from Mantar before, some of the eagerness is down to the new album’s first single, “Age Of The Absurd‘”, which was released late last week through a video — which is a good one because it gives people who’ve never seen the band on stage a taste of what that’s like (as well as shots of a mantis devouring a beetle, and two of them engaged in combat). As singer/guitarist Hanno was quoted as saying: “We decided to keep the video simple. Set up, play, destroy – pretty much exactly what we do all the time anyway”.
He also referred to this new song as “a hard-line in your face kinda thing”. No shit. While Hanno vents fury with his blowtorch of a voice, and discharges similarly searing intensity with his guitar, his partner Erinc delivers a typically bludgeoning performance behind the kit. It’s a bleak, back-breaking, but defiant sonic conflagration and a prime example of Mantar‘s intensity — and their capacity to get you moving,.
In March of this year we had the pleasure of premiering a video for a track called “Modus Operandi“, which was the first single from the forthcoming debut album of the Australian band Cancer, Into the Heartless Silence. That album has now been set for release on July 28 by Throats Productions — and over the weekend yet another single appeared.
I thought of “Modus Operandi” as a true musical “journey”, an emotionally involving one charted through a landscape of depressive black metal, but revealing different musical vistas as the movement unfolded. The new song, “Shell Over Bone“, is yet another journey, a slow build from a shimmering, ghostly start; through the ring of spectral, reverberating strings and the boom of ritual drum beats; into the push and pulse of tension-torquing riffs, hammering percussion, and unsettling vocal extremity; and through to a kind of rising, wrenching glory, and its moody aftermath.
The music is edged with pain and fear, its vibrancy a kind of imminent rushing catastrophe, and it’s damned hard to get out of your head once you’ve heard it.
If you haven’t put Into the Heartless Silence on your radar screen yet, it’s high time you do.
Oh so not that Cancer, got it.
No… still not that Cancer… though it seems every time I post about this band someone is going to get excited for the wrong reason. I guess I’ll have to start putting “(Australia)” after their name in the title.