REVIEWS

STAY METAL!

EMP – Magazine – Germany – 1999 – 5 out of 5 points

Manticora comes from Denmark and are delivering an impressive Power Metal debut with “Roots of Eternity”.Impressive, in the way that the quintet have achieved to sound like noone else within the scene. By incorporating different elements from the bigger bands, Manticora has succeeded in creating a totally unique sound. The guitars reminds me a bit of Helloween, but the riffing is more odd, almost progressive, which draws some parallels to Nevermore.

Especially the complex “Intoxicated” resembles the long-haired Seattle-guys a lot… Vocalist Lars Larsen possesses a characteristic and very variable voice – his singing can be compared to a mixture between Peavy (Rage) and Hansi (Blind Guardian). More highlights: the emotional ballad “Beyond the Walls of Sleep”, the (by great choruses enhanced) “Nowhere Land”, as well as the finishing 12 minute long title track. In total, a must have for any self-conscious and demanding Power Metal fan.

 

Johnny Angelund – METAL CLUB – Magazine – Norway – 1999 – 99 out 100 points

… Holy Diver, what a masterpiece Manticora has managed to record here!!! Manticora has released a mini-cd before called “Dead End Solution”, I thought that cd was a killer album, and I must say that I had big hopes for this full-length album. They are still playing power metal, but I think they have managed to make their music a little bit more heavier, and the sound on this record is so heavy and good. When I started to hear the record it just blew me away!

The first song, “When Forever Ends”, is a brilliant power metal song, hammering guitars and drums. The song “The Vision” is a more balanced song, but still a very good song – this is actually my favorite on the album, but there are no complaints about any of the songs on “Roots Of Eternity”. The thing with this Danish power metal act that makes me dig ‘em so much, is that they manage to make their music raw, instead of making the sound a little bit thin, which is the biggest problems with many of the new power metal acts around these days.

They also managed to take some other influences into their music, without loosing their style. I also have to mention the sound and production on this cd – it is just bloody awesome!!! Go out there and buy one of 1999’s best power metal releases…NOW!!!!

 

Ralf Walter – PERPETUAL MOTION BOARD – Internet Forum – USA – 1999

… Holy fucking beat me to a pulp batman! I just lost my load – spunk sprayeth all over the place…stuck to the ceiling, and is now beginning to drip in chunks. Someone wake me up, cuz I must be dreaming to be hearing a disc as incredible as this. Whew… OK you fuckers, (even those of you that take it up the ass), here is the near perfect blend of Blind Guardian and Iced Earth (70/30, respective). If you don’t believe me, then so what, I’m listening to it and yer not.This is awesome. Speed, heavy guitars, melodic vox, some killer riffs, some parts that would make ya wanna rip the tits off any hot chick (shit, even an ugly chick).

The drums are very BG-ish, as many of the melodies altogeher. But there’s so much other stuff that screams Iced Earth too. I’m thinkin’ some “Stand Alone” mixed up with some “I’m Alive”.The vox mid-range – no growls – no rasp – no real high-pitched screaming – just good killer powerful vox. At first I thought this guy was “adequate”, nut upon further listens, I realized the great set of lungs this bastard has. All power…The guitars just smoke. 2 of them. Lotsa leads, shit loads of riffs, speed, you name it. Great sound too…The drums are perfect-sounding.

They are mixed just right, not hidden, and none of that crappy tinny sound -so I assume there’s no Paiste cymbals (the crappiest sounding shit on the market, except for their china’s…). Even the snare is right on the money.Bass? Anyone say bass? Yes, it’s here, totally not drowned out either. I dunno what else to say about bass though.

To be teamed up with these drums though, must be a good bassist…Unless you are some kind of idiot, then you better get this disc if you enjoy true and pure metal. There’s nothing ground-breaking here people, but it’s like I say, it doesn’t have to be, to be a truly great disc. You wanna know why? Because these guys have their hearts in this music.

 

Larry D. – PERPETUAL MOTION BOARD – Internet Forum- USA – 1999

I usually stay clear of anything that’s not prog metal or rock these days, but recently there has been a surge of power metal releases that have been catching my ear such as Angel Dust, Voice, and others with slick, polished productions and keyboards. Manticora fall into that category, although they play as more thrashier approach to their power metal and I can’t figure out why I’m digging this disc so much.

To start with, the singer has definitely studied the craft of one, Hansi Kursch – including the vocal harmony style he uses as well. Lars Larsen doesn’t have a growly or aggressive voice like Hansi, but the singing style is definitely there. Lars definitely likes vocal harmonies and there are many to be found throughout this disc. His voice is mid-range, and he pretty much stays within one range and hardly, if ever, leaves that range. If he does, it’s pleasing to the ear. No screaming, no high pitching, just singing in a mid-range style ands very similar to Hansi Kursch’s vocal approach. (not his tone)

The twin guitar work of Kristian Larsen and Flemming Schultz pays much homage to the work of early Metallica, Iced Earth, and maybe a bit of Blind Guardian. This is the driving sound of Manticora, and the layers of guitar make for a huge wall of epic sound. From a thrashy style ala early Metallica, to heavy crunch ala Iced Earth, to soft, sweet acoustic type passages, these guys run the gambit of sound.The production is stellar – it’s slick and polished unlike most power metal of this nature. The guitars and drums are WAY up front, giving this it’s huge sound, and the singer really has to have some pipes to make himself heard over this sound and has no problem doing so.

The drums are superbly recorded – I wish every prog metal band would at least try to obtain a drum sound as thick and powerful as Manticora’s sound. Overall, this is an outstanding power metal disc – and for me to be digging this as much as I am without the use of heavy keyboards says a lot about this disc. The mere mention of the similar bands I’ve mentioned is enough to make me run in fear, so go figure out why I like this disc. It’s worthy of air guitar and your favorite trash can drum set in the living room for sure – and I suggest that some metal bands take a lesson in production from this producer and the band; this is one huge sounding disc. I can’t imagine any power metal fan not going for this one, and it’s certainly refreshing to know that some bands care about the way they sound. This ranks up there in serious production. Get out your air guitars kiddies, Manticora is here to bang some heads…….. FIRST THOUGHTS … Claus from Intromental was kind enough to send me this album – I’ve only just started playing it and it is certainly out of my listening league, but will certainly appeal to the real metal heads…. Manticora is like a mix of thrash and speed that never lets up for a minute…..lots of double bass, pretty good music for my ears, and lots of vocal harmonies. Very good production – this should really appeal to fans who just like to pound their skull into the cement and leave what is known as reality. Ralf should really get a hold of this one – it’s right up his alley and will certainly fill his ever present bucket.

The mix of speed and thrash should really get him going.Of course, the vocals don’t cut it for me – although I really dig the tons of vocal harmonies you don’t normally hear on discs of this heaviness. ..more thoughts…4 days later… … Plain and simple – every pure metal head is going to need this one. If you like that non-stop, double bass at the speed of light, heavy crunching guitars, with twin rhythms and harmonies ( although YES – there are some keyboards throughout), you’re going to love this one…. Claus mentioned some similar bands – I think that Iced Earth & Blind Guardian fit more than any other band here – the faster than light riffs mixed in with some BG structured songs subscribe right to those schools of music theory…. The production is absolutely killer – someone spent some serious time and money to make this disc sound totally awesome – the drum sounds are heaven for guys like me that always complain about chincy drum kit recordings….anyone who doesn’t think a drum kit can sound awesome, check this disc out…… If you power metal heads are sitting around waiting for the next release from your favorite band and wish that someone would come along and surprise the hell out of you – you need to hear Manticora…..

I’d say that most fans of the Blind Guardian / Iced Earth school of metal style will have a field day with this disc – it’s rare that unknown bands come from nowhere and take your ears by storm, but I believe that Manticora will do it effortlessly….. Coming from a guy who stays away from music like this – this is superbly done. Metal heads can take pride in this disc……. Contact Claus from Intromental Management for further scoop on this band – and see his posts below about the band…. This one is a WINNER for true metal heads – get a new wall to bang thy head against…..

 

Matt Johnson – FEAST OR FAMINE – Magazine – USA – 2000

A few years ago when this Danish band was known as Manticore, they impressed me with a nice little demo CD. It had it’s flaws, particularly the vocals of guitarist Lars Larsen, but it was certainly not without it’s charms, and for an independent power metal release it was very enjoyable. Apparently they impressed the Greek Black Lotus label as well, because someone put a lot of money into the recording of “Roots of Eternity”, their full length debut.

This is a great sounding record, with super crunchy guitars, powerful drums, and a very nice vocal mix. It’s been three or four years since the demo was recorded, and it’s obvious that Manticora have been listening to a lot of Blind Guardian since then. They used to sound a bit like early Rage, but now they sound a lot like “Somewhere far beyond” era Blind Guardian, with huge choruses, thrashy guitar harmonies and loads of double bass drumming. Manticora’s arrangements are a little simpler than Blind Guardian’s, and they are definitely a little heavier.

Vocally Larsen (who is concentrating exclusively in singing now) has improved immensely, although his voice might not sit well with everyone. His range is perhaps a little bit more restricted than Matt Barlowe’s (Iced Earth) but he known how to use it and he harmonizes very well with himself. The songs are very well written, and stuffed to capacity with hummable hooks and catchy irffs. Manticora deserve a lot more attention than they will ever get on this small label, but if there is any justice in the world, one of the bigger labels will snatch them up before they grab yet another third rate Helloween clone.

Fans of classy but hard edged power metal should definitely track this disc down immediately, because “Roots of eternity” does not disappoint.

 

THE SURFING ALIEN – Webzine – USA – 2000 – 84 out of 100 points

Amazingly massive production makes this disc very enjoyable. As one review accurately describes it, it’s “Stand Alone meets I’m Alive.” Pleasant mid-range vocals that sound very BIG. Must be the production. Thick thrashy rhythms and intense drumming power the songs and the leads are good to amazing in places (nice sound there too).

Some songs are not as well written as the best (otherwise the grade would be even higher). The title track is definitely one of the best songs. The last 2 minutes it’s an awesome thrashy groove with some cool soloing over it. An example of an album raised by the very high production values. Usually it’s the opposite with independent releases, especially debuts.

 

Rodrigo Capozzi – ROCK THE NATIONS – Magazine – Turkey – 2000 – 9 out of 10 points

This promising band is from Denmark. This is the second work of them, following the MCD Dead End Solution and this is actually their first real album. It shows a more mature work and better structured songs. The production isn’t perfect, especially for the great level of the compositions here. You can see a great improvement in the voice of Lars, from the times he sung in the band Fear Itself, which is the former name of Manticora.

They play competent, powerful and energetic Power/Melodic Metal with great influences from the 80’s bands. He shows a great voice control and gives an edge to the Manticora sound, as his tone is quite different from most bands in the style. With a lot of classic Heavy Metal and keyboard parts giving a point into symphonic, they have made a classic album. From the heavy …When Forever Ends, the melodic Beyond the Walls of Sleep and the majestic The Flood you can feel their tendencies towards the immortal kind of metal done in the 80’s.

They mix it with a little of the 90’s symphonic stuff, not too much, but enough to give a modern sound. Technically, all members are competent and very skilled. Kristian Larsen and the new Flemming Schultz are a great pair of guitarists, expressing power and melody. Mr. Mads Wolf kicks his drums furiously, giving Manticora a heavy sound. Rene Nielsen is a great bass player, keeping the lines of every song with a great dose of skill and feeling. Lars, well, he sings very well now, and better, with his own style, definitely an edge for the band. Briefly, a great album!

 

METAL INVADER – Magazine – Greece – 1999 – 5 out of 6 points

Here we are – the first album of Danish metallers Manticora is a real killer. It is a power metal album of the European style, with many things from the eighties and real powerful guitars. The vocal lines ar eso much different from the typical melodic power metal vocals that we’re used to. What is most important about the band is the guitar-work.

You can find many fast and really powerful riffs, backed by a rhythm section that is perfect. The production is groovy and gives the impression of another classical era. What we like so much about this group is that they don’t follow the typical power metal paths, and instead knows what they want to do with their music. Their sound is so close to the first albums of Blind Guardian, Gamma Ray’s “Land of the Free” and sometimes also reminds me of Rhapsody. Epic, atmospheric and also powerful metal. Actually, I think Manticora is equally as great as all the other bands that are supposed to be the leaders of the power metal scene.

I’m sure that a great new band has been born, and we will have to follow them closely in the future. Especially the last 12 minute song is so great, that I’d bet that any other power metal group would like to have written this song at first.

 

EMP – Magazine – Germany – 1999 – 5 out of 5 points

Manticora comes from Denmark and are delivering an impressive Power Metal debut with “Roots of Eternity”.Impressive, in the way that the quintet have achieved to sound like noone else within the scene. By incorporating different elements from the bigger bands, Manticora has succeeded in creating a totally unique sound.

The guitars reminds me a bit of Helloween, but the riffing is more odd, almost progressive, which draws some parallels to Nevermore. Especially the complex “Intoxicated” resembles the long-haired Seattle-guys a lot… Vocalist Lars Larsen possesses a characteristic and very variable voice – his singing can be compared to a mixture between Peavy (Rage) and Hansi (Blind Guardian). More highlights: the emotional ballad “Beyond the Walls of Sleep”, the (by great choruses enhanced) “Nowhere Land”, as well as the finishing 12 minute long title track. In total, a must have for any self-conscious and demanding Power Metal fan.

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